[ ih-rep-er-uh-buhl ]
/ ɪˈrɛp ər ə bəl /
Save This Word!

not reparable; incapable of being rectified, remedied, or made good: an irreparable mistake.
There are grammar debates that never die; and the ones highlighted in the questions in this quiz are sure to rile everyone up once again. Do you know how to answer the questions that cause some of the greatest grammar debates?
Question 1 of 7
Which sentence is correct?

Origin of irreparable

First recorded in 1375–1425; late Middle English word from Latin word irreparābilis.See ir-2, reparable

OTHER WORDS FROM irreparable

ir·rep·a·ra·bil·i·ty, ir·rep·a·ra·ble·ness, nounir·rep·a·ra·bly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What’s the difference between irreparable and unrepairable?

Irreparable and unrepairable both mean just about the same thing: unable to be repaired or fixed.

They can be used in overlapping ways, but they are usually used in different contexts and situations.

Irreparable is the more commonly used word. It can be applied to objects, such as machines or appliances, that can’t be repaired, but it’s perhaps most commonly used in the context of intangible things like circumstances and relationships. It’s especially used with the word damage, as in I’m afraid I’ve done irreparable damage to my reputation or The iceberg caused irreparable damage to the ship’s hull.

On the other hand, unrepairable is typically reserved for physical objects that can’t be fixed, such as cars, tables, or computers, as in I hate that a lot of appliances are manufactured in a way that makes them unrepairable. Still, unrepairable can also be applied to intangible things in the same way that irreparable usually is.

Here’s an example of irreparable and unrepairable used correctly in a sentence.

Example of irreparable: Sources close to the team say that the relationship between the coaches and the players is irreparable at this point.

Example of unrepairable: I’m really hoping my mechanic doesn’t tell me my car is unrepairable—I really don’t want to buy a new one. 

Want to learn more? Read the full breakdown of the difference between irreparable and unrepairable.

Quiz yourself on irreparable vs. unrepairable!

True or False? 

Irreparable and unrepairable can sometimes be used interchangeably.

How to use irreparable in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for irreparable

/ (ɪˈrɛpərəbəl, ɪˈrɛprəbəl) /

not able to be repaired or remedied; beyond repair

Derived forms of irreparable

irreparability or irreparableness, nounirreparably, 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