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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 irretrievably
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The benches are buried as irretrievably as if they "had been carried into the midst of the sea."

    A Labrador Doctor

    Wilfred Thomason Grenfell
  • Jim believed that the kiss in the vestibule bound Pen to him irretrievably.

    Still Jim Honor Willsie Morrow
  • Pies and turnips were ruined as irretrievably as the turkey.

  • All would have been irretrievably lost had it not been for the interposition of Fabius.

    Hannibal Jacob Abbott
  • Her eves moved to the treads, going outwards, so firmly, so irretrievably.

    The Longest Journey E. M. Forster
British Dictionary definitions for irretrievably


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 irretrievably



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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