- not relevant; not applicable or pertinent: His lectures often stray to interesting but irrelevant subjects.
- Law. (of evidence) having no probative value upon any issue in the case.
Origin of irrelevant
First recorded in 1780–90
The pronunciation of irrelevant [ih-rel-uh-vuh nt] /ɪˈrɛl ə vənt/, as [ih-rev-uh-luh nt] /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-uh l-ree] /ˈkæv əl ri/. Here the transposition is reinforced by the existence of the familiar word cavalry.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for irrelevant
That is decidedly not to say that politics and economics are irrelevant.No Gods, No Cops, No Masters
January 1, 2015
Nicki treats the obsession with her pop ambitions as an irrelevant, surface-level irritation.Nicki Minaj Bares Her Own Vulnerability on ‘The Pinkprint’
December 16, 2014
Today many in the economics and urban planning professions consider such factors close to irrelevant.The Rustbelt Roars Back From the Dead
Joel Kotkin, Richey Piiparinen
December 7, 2014
She feels religion is irrelevant to politics, and in a country that values secularity, it should be.The Good Wife’s Religion Politics: Voters Have No Faith in Alicia's Atheism
November 24, 2014
President Obama continues to make the irrelevant claim “the border is more secure than ever.”Didn't Obama Hear Oregon’s Warning Shot on Immigration?
November 14, 2014
There followed a voluminous screed of irrelevant dissertation.Camps, Quarters and Casual Places
That remark was so irrelevant that one could make no answer to it.
That was the line of his argument, and it was irrelevant enough to be almost insulting.
Yet this discursiveness is not so irrelevant to the handful of pages which follow.Notes on My Books
You remind me of a passage in my story which I omitted, as irrelevant to the matter in hand.David Elginbrod
- not relating or pertinent to the matter at hand; not important
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
Word Origin and History for irrelevant
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper