ir·​rev·​o·​ca·​ble | \ i-ˈre-və-kə-bəl How to pronounce irrevocable (audio) , ˌi(r)-, sometimes ˌir-(r)ə-ˈvō-kə- How to pronounce irrevocable (audio) \

Definition of irrevocable

: not possible to revoke : unalterable an irrevocable decision

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Other Words from irrevocable

irrevocability \ i-​ˌre-​və-​kə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce irrevocability (audio) , ˌir-​(r)ə-​ˌvō-​kə-​ \ noun
irrevocableness \ i-​ˈre-​və-​kə-​bəl-​nəs How to pronounce irrevocableness (audio) , ˌir-​(r)ə-​ˈvō-​kə-​ \ noun
irrevocably \ i-​ˈre-​və-​kə-​blē How to pronounce irrevocably (audio) , ˌi(r)-​ , sometimes  ˌir-​(r)ə-​ˈvō-​kə-​ \ adverb

Irrevocable and Trusts

Irrevocable has a formal sound to it and is often used in legal contexts. Irrevocable trusts are trust funds that cannot be dissolved by the people who created them (the other kind is a revocable trust). An irrevocable credit is an absolute obligation from a bank to provide credit to a customer. Irrevocable gifts, under U.S. tax law, are gifts that are given by one living person to another and can't be reclaimed by the giver. But the word isn't always legal; we've all had to make irrevocable decisions, decisions that commit us absolutely to something.

Examples of irrevocable in a Sentence

She has made an irrevocable decision.
Recent Examples on the Web Ownership categories include single accounts, joint accounts, certain retirement accounts such as IRAs, revocable trust accounts and irrevocable trust accounts, among others. Liz Weston, oregonlive, "Liz Weston: Donating to charities? One big gift helps more than several small ones," 4 Jan. 2020 And more radical ideas — like an outright ban on jailhouse informants in capital cases — have stalled, allowing prosecutors to continue using snitch testimony to secure the starkest, most irrevocable punishment. Pamela Colloff, ProPublica, "He’s a Liar, a Con Artist and a Snitch. His Testimony Could Soon Send a Man to His Death.," 4 Dec. 2019 In the past, part of a living trust often became irrevocable when one spouse died. Liz Weston |, oregonlive, "Liz Weston: Sister withholding information on deceased father’s living trust," 27 Oct. 2019 Wait until the dust settles to make irrevocable changes. Tribune Content Agency,, "Horoscope for July 28, 2019: Libra, stay focused on long-term loyalties; Scorpio, loved-ones need space," 28 July 2019 Here’s one that came from Kathleen (PH) from Canby, Oregon, who writes many fear the current administration has inflicted irrevocable harm on our governing institutions and norms and, in the process, on our reputation abroad. Time Staff, Time, "Here's What the Candidates Said During Thursday's Dramatic Democratic Presidential Debate," 29 June 2019 In the past, part of a living trust often became irrevocable when one spouse died. Liz Weston, Los Angeles Times, "Death doesn’t take a financial holiday. Here’s a cautionary tale," 20 Oct. 2019 In order to do so, work with an elder law attorney to create an irrevocable trust at least five years in advance of the need for Medicaid services. Mort Mazor,, "Facing life care reality | Opinion," 29 Aug. 2019 The prospect of this irrevocable genetic change is why, since the advent of CRISPR as a genome editor 5 years earlier, the editing of human embryos, eggs, or sperm has been hotly debated. Jon Cohen, Science | AAAS, "The untold story of the ‘circle of trust’ behind the world’s first gene-edited babies," 1 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'irrevocable.' 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 irrevocable

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for irrevocable

Middle English, from Latin irrevocabilis, from in- + revocabilis revocable

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Time Traveler for irrevocable

Time Traveler

The first known use of irrevocable was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

21 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Irrevocable.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 January 2020.

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More Definitions for irrevocable


How to pronounce irrevocable (audio) How to pronounce irrevocable (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of irrevocable

formal : not capable of being changed : impossible to revoke


ir·​rev·​o·​ca·​ble | \ i-ˈre-və-kə-bəl How to pronounce irrevocable (audio) \

Kids Definition of irrevocable

: impossible to take away or undo an irrevocable decision

Other Words from irrevocable

irrevocably \ -​blē \ adverb


ir·​rev·​o·​ca·​ble | \ ir-ˈre-və-kə-bəl How to pronounce irrevocable (audio) \

Legal Definition of irrevocable

: not capable of being revoked the offer was irrevocable for ten days

Other Words from irrevocable

irrevocability noun
irrevocably adverb

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Comments on irrevocable

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