[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 irretrievably

Contemporary Examples of irretrievably

Historical Examples of irretrievably

  • The benches are buried as irretrievably as if they "had been carried into the midst of the sea."

    A Labrador Doctor

    Wilfred Thomason Grenfell

  • Jim believed that the kiss in the vestibule bound Pen to him irretrievably.

    Still Jim

    Honor Willsie Morrow

  • Pies and turnips were ruined as irretrievably as the turkey.

  • All would have been irretrievably lost had it not been for the interposition of Fabius.


    Jacob Abbott

  • Her eves moved to the treads, going outwards, so firmly, so irretrievably.

    The Longest Journey

    E. M. Forster

British Dictionary definitions for irretrievably



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 irretrievably



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper