[ ih-rel-uh-vuh nt ]
/ ɪˈrɛl ə vənt /


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.


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Origin of irrelevant

First recorded in 1780–90

pronunciation note for irrelevant

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.


ir·rel·e·vant·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for irrelevant

British Dictionary definitions for irrelevant

/ (ɪˈrɛləvənt) /


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

Derived forms of irrelevant

irrelevance or irrelevancy, nounirrelevantly, 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