ir·re·vers·ible | \ ˌir-i-ˈvər-sə-bəl \

Definition of irreversible 

: not reversible

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Other words from irreversible

irreversibility \ˌir-i-ˌvər-sə-ˈbi-lə-tē \ noun
irreversibly \ˌir-i-ˈvər-sə-blē \ adverb

Examples of irreversible in a Sentence

He suffered an irreversible loss of vision. The crisis has done irreversible harm to the countries' relations.

Recent Examples on the Web

The mechanism by which Britain leaves the E.U., which is known as Article 50, has already been triggered and is theoretically irreversible. NBC News, "Brexit chaos: What happens next for British PM Theresa May?," 10 July 2018 The numbers of Chinook salmon haven't rebounded since the drought was declared over, and the tiny Delta smelt continues its possibility irreversible march toward extinction. Dale Kasler, sacbee, "California has a new plan for allocating its water, and it means less for farmers," 6 July 2018 Instead, microscopic worms infested her body, causing catastrophic and irreversible damage. The Economist, "How Sierra Leone is beating tropical diseases," 23 June 2018 To further complicate matters, the worst and most irreversible health effects of malnutrition occur between birth and age 2, when children need particularly high doses of micronutrients like Vitamin A, zinc and iron. The Washington Post,, "Could 'porridge' cure malnutrition in West Africa? Silicon Valley start-up says yes," 24 Feb. 2018 Or the United States may not be willing or able to offer the security guarantees sufficient to convince Kim to CVID — complete verifiable irreversible dismantlement — of his nuclear weapons. Bridget Coggins, Washington Post, "North and South Korea still have a long path ahead, most of it uncharted," 1 May 2018 Linking early experience to the genomic variability of nerves suggests that early experience leaves an irreversible genomic imprint in the brain. Robert Martone, Scientific American, "Early Life Experience: It’s in Your DNA," 10 July 2018 This sorting has set the parties on seemingly irreversible paths, with the Democrats increasingly committed to feminism and the Republicans more forcefully defending traditional gender norms. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "A Party for Women. A Party for (White) Men.," 24 May 2018 This sort of tit for tat, of playing for all the marbles all the time, quickly becomes irreversible in a democracy. Kevin Baker, New Republic, "There are no good old days to return to in U.S. politics. The truth about a post-Trump era.," 15 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'irreversible.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of irreversible

1630, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

1 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for irreversible

The first known use of irreversible was in 1630

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English Language Learners Definition of irreversible

: impossible to change back to a previous condition or state


ir·re·vers·i·ble | \ ˌir-i-ˈvər-sə-bəl \

Kids Definition of irreversible

: impossible to change back to a previous condition : impossible to reverse irreversible harm


ir·re·vers·ible | \ ˌir-i-ˈvər-sə-bəl \

Medical Definition of irreversible 

: incapable of being reversed : not reversible an irreversible medical procedure : as

a : impossible to make run or take place backward irreversible chemical syntheses

b of a colloid : incapable of undergoing transformation from sol to gel or vice versa

c of a pathological process : of such severity that recovery is impossible irreversible brain damage

Other words from irreversible

irreversibility \-ˌvər-sə-ˈbil-ət-ē \ noun plural -ties
irreversibly \-ˈvər-sə-blē \ adverb

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ir·re·ver·si·ble | \ ˌir-rə-ˈvər-sə-bəl \

Legal Definition of irreversible 

: not reversible an irreversible decision

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Comments on irreversible

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