[ uhn-ri-pair-uh-buhl ]
/ ˌʌn rɪˈpɛər ə bəl /
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that cannot be repaired: Some old clocks are unrepairable.
that cannot be rectified or remedied; irreparable.
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Origin of unrepairable

First recorded in 1605–15; un-1 + repair1 + -able
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What’s the difference between unrepairable and irreparable?

Unrepairable and irreparable 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 unrepairable and irreparable 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 unrepairable and irreparable.

Quiz yourself on unrepairable vs. irreparable!

True or False? 

Unrepairable and irreparable can sometimes be used interchangeably.

How to use unrepairable in a sentence