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[ri-noo, -nyoo] /rɪˈnu, -ˈnyu/
able to be renewed:
a library book that is not renewable.
something that is renewable.
Origin of renewable
1720-30; renew + -able
Related forms
renewability, noun
nonrenewable, adjective
unrenewable, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for nonrenewable
  • The non-profit promotes stringent sustainability standards in the tourism industry, such as consumption of nonrenewable resources.
  • If only in a free market, the total of cost renewable energy cost were lower then nonrenewable.
  • The sources of the energy that people use the world over fall into two general categories: renewable and nonrenewable.
  • Overreliance on nonrenewable resources over the past few centuries has revealed their inherent vulnerabilities.
  • Energy efficient homes reduce unnecessary energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and demands for nonrenewable resources.
  • Conduct a discussion about the advantages and disadvantages of renewable and nonrenewable sources of energy.
  • Questions persist about the wisdom of a large-scale shift from gasoline to another nonrenewable fossil fuel for cars.
  • Every time your air-conditioner clicks on, the world outside gets a little warmer because of increased use of nonrenewable energy.
  • nonrenewable sources are not only limited but they also create pollution and contribute to global warming.
  • It will be difficult to completely remove nonrenewable resources from the market.
British Dictionary definitions for nonrenewable


not able to be restored, replaced, recommenced, etc: nonrenewable resources
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 nonrenewable



1727, from renew + -able. In reference to energy sources, attested by 1971.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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nonrenewable in Science
Relating to a natural resource, such as petroleum or a mineral ore, that cannot be replaced once it has been extracted or procured. Nonrenewable resources that are not significantly altered by their use, including most metals, can often be recovered and their usefulness extended by recycling. Compare renewable.
Relating to a natural resource, such as solar energy, water, or wood, that is never used up or that can be replaced by new growth. Resources that are dependent on regrowth can sometimes be depleted beyond the point of renewability, as when the deforestation of land leads to desertification or when a commercially valuable species is harvested to extinction. Pollution can also make a renewable resource such as water unusable in a particular location. Compare nonrenewable.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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