[ ih-rel-uh-vuhnt ]
See synonyms for irrelevant on
  1. not relevant; not applicable or pertinent: His lectures often stray to interesting but irrelevant subjects.

  2. Law. (of evidence) having no probative value upon any issue in the case.

Origin of irrelevant

First recorded in 1780–90

pronunciation note For irrelevant

The pronunciation of irrelevant [ih-rel-uh-vuhnt], /ɪˈrɛl ə vənt/, as [ih-rev-uh-luhnt], /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/ and [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-uhl-ree]. /ˈkæv əl ri/. Here the transposition is reinforced by the existence of the familiar word cavalry.

Other words from irrelevant

  • ir·rel·e·vant·ly, adverb

Words Nearby irrelevant Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use irrelevant in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for irrelevant


/ (ɪˈrɛləvənt) /

  1. not relating or pertinent to the matter at hand; not important

Derived forms of irrelevant

  • irrelevance or 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