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[ir-i-doo-suh-buh l, -dyoo-] /ˌɪr ɪˈdu sə bəl, -ˈdyu-/
not reducible; incapable of being reduced or of being diminished or simplified further:
the irreducible minimum.
incapable of being brought into a different condition or form.
  1. of or relating to a polynomial that cannot be factored.
  2. of or relating to a group that cannot be written as the direct product of two of its subgroups.
1625-35; ir-2 + reducible
Related forms
irreducibility, irreducibleness, noun
irreducibly, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for irreducible
  • It can produce a sensation of irreducible foreignness.
  • Creativity comes about whenever you have a collision of ideas, forcing mutually irreducible notions to coexist in the same space.
  • But there is an irreducible psychological dimension to both crises and recoveries.
  • Some phenomena have an irreducible complexity that will defeat any big-idea effort at simplification.
  • Those cultures are irreducible to the regulatory environment or to economic behaviour.
  • There are other points of potentially irreducible contention.
  • By ignoring irreducible uncertainty, modern economics had gone fundamentally off course.
  • Those cultures are irreducible to the regulatory environment or to economic behaviour.
  • The irreducible complexity argument has been clearly and repeatedly shown to be flawed.
  • The scientific method is defined by the search for the irreducible truth.
British Dictionary definitions for irreducible


not able to be reduced or lessened
not able to be brought to a simpler or reduced form
  1. (of a polynomial) unable to be factorized into polynomials of lower degree, as (x² + 1)
  2. (of a radical) incapable of being reduced to a rational expression, as √(x + 1)
Derived Forms
irreducibility, irreducibleness, noun
irreducibly, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for irreducible

1530s, from assimilated form of in- (1) "not, opposite of" + reducible. Related: Irreducibly; irreducibility.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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irreducible in Medicine

irreducible ir·re·duc·i·ble (ĭr'ĭ-dōō'sə-bəl, -dyōō'-)

  1. Impossible to reduce to a desired, simpler, or smaller form or amount.

  2. Incapable of being made chemically simpler, or of being replaced, hydrogenated, or reduced in positive charge.

ir're·duc'i·bil'i·ty or ir're·duc'i·ble·ness n.
ir're·duc'i·bly adv.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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