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

Pompeo also has dropped the longtime U.S. demand for complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization, or CVID. Tracy Wilkinson,, "After North Korea's swipe, Pompeo must focus on pace and structure if nuclear talks are to succeed," 10 July 2018 As negotiations now advance, there is only one acceptable final outcome: complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization. Rebecca Shabad /, NBC News, "Trump-Kim summit draws mixed reaction on Capitol Hill," 12 June 2018 So complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization. CNN, "READ: The White House's background briefing on the North Korea Summit," 27 May 2018 Colombia's constitutional court has declared some aspects of the agreement irreversible. Joshua Goodman And Christine Armario, Fox News, "Doubts looms over Colombia peace deal with hawk's election," 18 June 2018 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

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

27 Oct 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

What made you want to look up irreversible? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


obstinately defiant of authority

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