said, done, or characterized by a lack of a sense of responsibility: His refusal to work shows him to be completely irresponsible.
not capable of or qualified for responsibility, as due to age, circumstances, or a mental deficiency.
not responsible, answerable, or accountable to higher authority: irresponsible as a monarch.


an irresponsible person.

Origin of irresponsible

First recorded in 1640–50; ir-2 + responsible
Related formsir·re·spon·si·bil·i·ty, ir·re·spon·si·ble·ness, nounir·re·spon·si·bly, adverb

Synonyms for irresponsible Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for irresponsibility

Contemporary Examples of irresponsibility

Historical Examples of irresponsibility

  • A caterer's thrifty concession to the universal passion for irresponsibility.

  • Irresponsibility ran strongly in that branch of the Butler family.

    The Snare

    Rafael Sabatini

  • He had a gay sense of irresponsibility, of seeking the event.

    The Prisoner

    Alice Brown

  • At once, it seemed to me, he recognised the irresponsibility of his rider.

    Dwellers in the Hills

    Melville Davisson Post

  • It is a fine thing to get into the freedom and irresponsibility of a big city!

British Dictionary definitions for irresponsibility



not showing or done with due care for the consequences of one's actions or attitudes; reckless
not capable of bearing responsibility
archaic not answerable to a higher authority for one's actions
Derived Formsirresponsibility or irresponsibleness, nounirresponsibly, 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

Word Origin and History for irresponsibility

1818; see irresponsible + -ity.



1640s, "not legally answerable for conduct or actions," from assimilated form of in- (1) "not, opposite of" + responsible. Meaning "not acting with a sense of responsibility" is from 1680s. Related: Irresponsibly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper