Why was clemency trending last week?


[ih-rel-uh-vuh nt] /ɪˈrɛl ə vənt/
not relevant; not applicable or pertinent:
His lectures often stray to interesting but irrelevant subjects.
Law. (of evidence) having no probative value upon any issue in the case.
Origin of irrelevant
Related forms
irrelevantly, adverb
Pronunciation note
The pronunciation of irrelevant
[ih-rel-uh-vuh nt] /ɪˈrɛl ə vənt/ (Show IPA)
[ih-rev-uh-luh nt] /ɪˈrɛv ə lənt/
as if spelled irrevelant, is the result of metathesis, the transposition of two sounds, in this case, the
[l] /l/
and the
[v] /v/
Relevant, the base word, is occasionally subject to the same process. Analogy with words like prevalent and equivalent may play a role. A similar reordering of the
[l] /l/
[v] /v/
consonant sounds, althought not a strict one-to-one metathesis, can be heard for Calvary
[kal-vuh-ree] /ˈkæl və ri/
when pronounced
[kav-uh l-ree] /ˈkæv əl ri/ .
Here the transposition is reinforced by the existence of the familiar word cavalry. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for irrelevant
  • Set against the backdrop of the known universe, the history of our dear planet seems nearly irrelevant.
  • The remarks made in the article concerning the decorative elements on the two figures on the right seem to me to be irrelevant.
  • Otherwise their irrelevant answers would make them appear half-witted.
  • The patient is required to relate all his thoughts in the order of their sequence even if they seem irrelevant to him.
  • Though frequently prolix and rhetorical, he is never tedious or irrelevant.
  • And here it may not be irrelevant to remark that the question of toleration never entered into the dispute.
  • Indeed three rows of ringside seats are filled with foreigners, all pop-eyed, but they're actually irrelevant.
  • Some people think that money is irrelevant for happiness.
  • As for the claims that others are affected, as true as it might be, it is also irrelevant.
  • The posted message above is irrelevant to the article.
British Dictionary definitions for irrelevant


not relating or pertinent to the matter at hand; not important
Derived Forms
irrelevance, irrelevancy, noun
irrelevantly, 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 irrelevant

1680s, from assimilated form of in- (1) "not, opposite of" + relevant. Related: Irrelevantly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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