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[ir-i-vur-suh-buh l] /ˌɪr ɪˈvɜr sə bəl/
not reversible; incapable of being changed:
His refusal is irreversible.
Origin of irreversible
1620-30; ir-2 + reversible
Related forms
irreversibility, irreversibleness, noun
irreversibly, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for irreversible
  • Some would-be duelists discovered that even the code's formal preliminaries might set in motion an irreversible chain of events.
  • Look, the labels know that recorded music is in irreversible decline.
  • Most scientists agree that beyond some critical threshold, climate change is irreversible and probably catastrophic.
  • The intellectual break with the past was drastic and seemingly irreversible.
  • Engineering life is a fundamental mistake and irreversible.
  • Other schemes, even if workable, have the risk of causing irreversible effects even worse than the problems they address.
  • The loss of animal species is irreversible and potentially catastrophic, not to mention heartrendingly sad.
  • By then, irreversible liver damage has occurred, and many patients who live far away can't be located again.
  • Even minute changes can bring about irreversible damage.
  • The acidification that has occurred so far is probably irreversible.
British Dictionary definitions for irreversible


not able to be reversed: the irreversible flow of time
not able to be revoked or repealed; irrevocable
(chem, physics) capable of changing or producing a change in one direction only: an irreversible reaction
(thermodynamics) (of a change, process, etc) occurring through a number of intermediate states that are not all in thermodynamic equilibrium
Derived Forms
irreversibility, irreversibleness, noun
irreversibly, 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 irreversible

1620s, from assimilated form of in- (1) "not, opposite of" + reversible. Related: Irreversibly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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