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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
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. 2016.
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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
  • "It's hard a man cannot dispose of his own daughter," said Mwres irrelevantly.

    Tales of Space and Time Herbert George Wells
  • "You look like a colored illustration from the Graphic," she said irrelevantly.

    The Wishing-Ring Man Margaret Widdemer
  • "Perhaps we ought to go down now," she suggested, irrelevantly.

    Cleo The Magnificent Louis Zangwill
  • He especially excelled in descriptions (irrelevantly introduced) dealing with such subjects as flowers and female beauty.

  • He answered as irrelevantly as she had spoken, "Yes, indeed, so it is."

    A Summer Evening's Dream Edward Bellamy
  • "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


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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