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[ir-i-pres-uh-buh l] /ˌɪr ɪˈprɛs ə bəl/
incapable of being repressed or restrained; uncontrollable:
irrepressible laughter.
Origin of irrepressible
First recorded in 1805-15; ir-2 + repressible
Related forms
irrepressibility, irrepressibleness, noun
irrepressibly, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for irrepressible
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Suddenly the former dropped the match from his hand, starting in irrepressible astonishment.

    Guy Livingstone; George A. Lawrence
  • Between the two systems there was an "irrepressible conflict."

    The Negro and the Nation George S. Merriam
  • With a quick, irrepressible motion my eyes turned in its direction.

    My Friends the Savages Giovanni Battista Cerruti
  • We smiled at his irrepressible grief; it was poetic justice.

  • Larkin struck in with one of his irrepressible puns about a "Vassarlating maid," and the laughter became general.

    The North Pacific Willis Boyd Allen
British Dictionary definitions for irrepressible


not capable of being repressed, controlled, or restrained
Derived Forms
irrepressibility, irrepressibleness, noun
irrepressibly, 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 irrepressible

1767, from assimilated form of in- (1) "not, opposite of" + repressible (see repress).

Increase of population, which is filling the States out to their very borders, together with a new and extended network of railroads and other avenues, and an internal commerce which daily becomes more intimate, is rapidly bringing the States into a higher and more perfect social unity or consolidation. Thus, these antagonistic systems are continually coming into closer contact, and collision results.

Shall I tell you what this collision means? They who think that it is accidental, unnecessary, the work of interested or fanatical agitators, and therefor ephemeral, mistake the case altogether. It is an irrepressible conflict between opposing and enduring forces, and it means that the United States must and will, sooner or later, become either entirely a slaveholding nation, or entirely a free-labor nation. [William H. Seward, speech at Rochester, N.Y., Oct. 2, 1858]
Related: Irrepressibly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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