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[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
First recorded in 1780-90
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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for irrelevantly
Historical Examples
  • "Sidney Page was one of the bridesmaids," he said irrelevantly.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • Different parts of his life flashed at him, all out of order and irrelevantly.

    Cleo The Magnificent

    Louis Zangwill
  • "Perhaps we ought to go down now," she suggested, irrelevantly.

    Cleo The Magnificent

    Louis Zangwill
  • "I wish I could kiss you, you old angel," she said, irrelevantly.

    Miss Pat at School

    Pemberton Ginther
  • "We have been friends for a great while," he said irrelevantly.

    An American Suffragette Isaac N. Stevens
  • "The 'bells they go ringing for Sarah,'" quotes Mr. Luttrell, irrelevantly.

    Molly Bawn Margaret Wolfe Hamilton
  • He answered as irrelevantly as she had spoken, "Yes, indeed, so it is."

    A Summer Evening's Dream Edward Bellamy
  • "I wonder what Emma's doing to-night," she said irrelevantly.

    Grace Harlowe's Golden Summer Jessie Graham Flower
  • "Kaufmann has always wanted to visit the Fatherland," he said irrelevantly.

  • "That's why I want to know what you think," went on Havelock, irrelevantly.

British Dictionary definitions for irrelevantly


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



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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