Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know


[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. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for irretrievable
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He had destroyed his ambitions, he had transformed all his life, by a single unreflecting and irretrievable impulse.

    The Roll-Call Arnold Bennett
  • I looked on what had past as ordained, and considered my misery as irretrievable.

    Peter Schlemihl Adelbert von Chamisso
  • Do you wish me to make my daughter believe she has come back into my life only to bring me irretrievable ruin?

  • And she had no wish to add this irretrievable folly to the original blunder.

    The Lure of the Mask Harold MacGrath
  • The gap was evidently wider than the Germans either anticipated or realized; otherwise the disaster might have been irretrievable.

  • After all the demolitions of Totila, the ruin was not irretrievable.

    Theodoric the Goth Thomas Hodgkin
  • Insult and rejoinder break out, and it is within a hair's breadth of the irretrievable plunge that the king speaks his mind.

    Epic and Romance W. P. Ker
  • The cause of the planters had gone down in irretrievable disaster.

    Expansion and Conflict William E. Dodd
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
Cite This Source
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
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for irretrievable

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for irretrievable

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for irretrievable