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 irresponsible

Contemporary Examples of irresponsible

Historical Examples of irresponsible

  • Decatur Brown laughed—a light, irresponsible, bachelor laugh.

  • It is extraordinary how irresponsible one's thoughts are sometimes.

    The Burning Spear

    John Galsworthy

  • She grew more like the old Helen, irresponsible and charming.

    Howards End

    E. M. Forster

  • If he had not been weak and ill and irresponsible for what he was saying I think I should.

    The Rise of Roscoe Paine

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • It is these irresponsible writers who have made "history" to suit their own purposes.

    Aztec Land

    Maturin M. Ballou

British Dictionary definitions for irresponsible



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 irresponsible

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