[ir-i-tree-vuh-buh l]


not capable of being retrieved; irrecoverable; irreparable.

Origin of irretrievable

1695–1705; ir-2 + retrievable
Related formsir·re·triev·a·bil·i·ty, ir·re·triev·a·ble·ness, nounir·re·triev·a·bly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for irretrievable

Contemporary Examples of irretrievable

Historical Examples of irretrievable

  • The man's chance is not irretrievable, at least such is the theory.

    Lord Kilgobbin

    Charles Lever

  • What was to come of such a career, save immediate and irretrievable ruin?

    Roland Cashel

    Charles James Lever

  • And she had no wish to add this irretrievable folly to the original blunder.

    The Lure of the Mask

    Harold MacGrath

  • After all the demolitions of Totila, the ruin was not irretrievable.

    Theodoric the Goth

    Thomas Hodgkin

  • We know that the fact is irretrievable, and struggle to be proud of what we cannot help.

    The Two Admirals

    J. Fenimore Cooper

British Dictionary definitions for irretrievable



not able to be retrieved, recovered, or repaired
Derived Formsirretrievability or irretrievableness, nounirretrievably, 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 irretrievable

1690s (implied in irretrievably), from assimilated form of in- (1) "not, opposite of" + retrievable (see retrieve). Related: Irretrievably.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper