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irrelevant

[ih-rel-uh-vuh nt] /ɪˈrɛl ə vənt/
adjective
1.
not relevant; not applicable or pertinent:
His lectures often stray to interesting but irrelevant subjects.
2.
Law. (of evidence) having no probative value upon any issue in the case.
Origin of irrelevant
1780-1790
1780-90
Related forms
irrelevantly, adverb
Pronunciation note
The pronunciation of irrelevant
[ih-rel-uh-vuh nt] /ɪˈrɛl ə vənt/ (Show IPA)
as
[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/
and
[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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for irrelevantly
Historical Examples
  • It needed a well-equipped intelligence to follow him; few could, and the majority thought he talked brilliantly but irrelevantly.

    Coleridge Samuel Levy Bensusan
  • "Perhaps we ought to go down now," she suggested, irrelevantly.

    Cleo The Magnificent Louis Zangwill
  • "You look like a colored illustration from the Graphic," she said irrelevantly.

    The Wishing-Ring Man Margaret Widdemer
  • He answered as irrelevantly as she had spoken, "Yes, indeed, so it is."

    A Summer Evening's Dream Edward Bellamy
  • He especially excelled in descriptions (irrelevantly introduced) dealing with such subjects as flowers and female beauty.

  • "It's hard a man cannot dispose of his own daughter," said Mwres irrelevantly.

    Tales of Space and Time Herbert George Wells
  • "That's why I want to know what you think," went on Havelock, irrelevantly.

  • "I thought that you said that it was to be my party, Pa," said Virginia, irrelevantly.

    The Crisis, Complete Winston Churchill
  • Then, apparently apropos of nothing, he added, irrelevantly: "Wonder what Denver's doing right now?"

    Wyoming, a Story of the Outdoor West William MacLeod Raine
  • Bobs said irrelevantly, “I love her and I want to know her better.”

    Bobs, a Girl Detective Grace May North
British Dictionary definitions for irrelevantly

irrelevant

/ɪˈrɛləvənt/
adjective
1.
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 irrelevantly

irrelevant

adj.

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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