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[ir-i-tree-vuh-buh l] /ˌɪr ɪˈtri və bəl/
not capable of being retrieved; irrecoverable; irreparable.
Origin of irretrievable
1695-1705; ir-2 + retrievable
Related forms
irretrievability, irretrievableness, noun
irretrievably, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for irretrievable
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The man's chance is not irretrievable, at least such is the theory.

    Lord Kilgobbin Charles Lever
  • What was to come of such a career, save immediate and irretrievable ruin?

    Roland Cashel Charles James Lever
  • And she had no wish to add this irretrievable folly to the original blunder.

    The Lure of the Mask Harold MacGrath
  • After all the demolitions of Totila, the ruin was not irretrievable.

    Theodoric the Goth Thomas Hodgkin
  • We know that the fact is irretrievable, and struggle to be proud of what we cannot help.

    The Two Admirals J. Fenimore Cooper
  • The last act was reckless and irretrievable, but it was vague.

  • It was also a definite and irretrievable step towards separation.


    Emile Cammaerts
  • But an irretrievable split on the remainder seemed inevitable.

British Dictionary definitions for irretrievable


not able to be retrieved, recovered, or repaired
Derived Forms
irretrievability, irretrievableness, noun
irretrievably, 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 irretrievable

1690s (implied in irretrievably), from assimilated form of in- (1) "not, opposite of" + retrievable (see retrieve). Related: Irretrievably.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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