Definition of irregular in English:

irregular

adjective

  • 1Not even or balanced in shape or arrangement:

    ‘his strong, irregular features’
    • ‘The scaphoid bone has an irregular shape, and 80% of the surface is covered by articular cartilage.’
    • ‘The resultant aggregates may have many internal lipid lined compartments, which contributes to its highly irregular shape.’
    • ‘Melanomas and other skin cancers usually have irregular shapes.’
    • ‘Electron microscopy revealed polygonal tumor cells with round nuclei having slightly irregular contours and prominent nucleoli.’
    • ‘Most asteroids are highly irregular in shape, their miniscule gravity being too small to influence their overall outlines.’
    • ‘After fingering about a dozen ties I choose a grey one with small irregular spots arranged in diagonal rows.’
    • ‘The irregular shape of the cornea distorts the image causing it to blur, unlike in a lazy eye where the eye is essentially normal.’
    • ‘Fractures can occur in any orientation, and they are usually curved or highly irregular in shape.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, most were not well-formed single crystals but were somewhat irregular masses.’
    • ‘Other abnormalities under high temperature stress included an irregular arrangement of the epidermal cells.’
    • ‘The spongy fabric is loose and tetrahedral, with rather irregular pores in size and shape.’
    • ‘Each panel features an elongated, irregular rectangle painted in acrylic in red, blue or black against a contrasting hue.’
    • ‘Dandruff is irregular in shape and does not adhere to the base of the hair.’
    • ‘It is not that Thomas deliberately creates irregular shapes.’
    • ‘Walls began to rattle, and the mirror in the entryway shook and broke into a million irregular pieces.’
    • ‘This irregular arrangement of atoms not only defines a substance as glass, but also determines several of its properties.’
    • ‘The net result is that the cartilage is replaced from within by a somewhat irregular vascularized network of bone.’
    • ‘Cut out the irregular shape from B and the circle from C.’
    • ‘Most asteroids are very irregular in shape.’
    • ‘For larger or more irregular areas, the cables might work better.’
    asymmetrical, non-uniform, uneven, crooked, misshapen, lopsided, contorted, twisted
    rough, bumpy, uneven, coarse
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    1. 1.1 Occurring at uneven or varying rates or intervals:
      ‘an irregular heartbeat’
      • ‘I've started school again, so updates will probably be in irregular intervals.’
      • ‘Low blood pressure and irregular heartbeat are the most significant side effects.’
      • ‘For example, many tropical species reproduce at irregular supra-annual intervals.’
      • ‘Side effects of emergency contraception are nausea, vomiting and irregular bleeding.’
      • ‘Income can be withdrawn at irregular intervals to suit individual circumstances as long as the payments are in accordance with the above limits.’
      • ‘At the northwest corner, three to four people smoked at irregular intervals.’
      • ‘My politicization had happened at irregular intervals during my primary and secondary school days.’
      • ‘After about 12 hours of labor, the doctor insisted on a C-section because I was bleeding heavily and the contractions were very strong and irregular.’
      • ‘Postings may sometimes be irregular this week, since I'm at a conference.’
      • ‘The rhythm is irregular, and the rate can vary or become sinus bradycardia because of the long pauses.’
      • ‘The resultant irregular rhythm may be difficult to differentiate from atrial fibrillation.’
      • ‘She appeared to have sensed the tension building in him and her breathing was slightly irregular.’
      • ‘Her head hung and she remained still for a few moments, her breathing irregular.’
      • ‘During the rest of the wintering season, surveys were conducted at irregular intervals.’
      • ‘On December 4, I started experiencing mild, irregular contractions.’
      • ‘When the body's natural electrical signal becomes irregular the technology can provide synchronisation.’
      • ‘Quivering or irregular contraction of heart muscle fibers, preventing the heart from contracting as a unit and pumping blood effectively.’
      • ‘Special announcements and features appeared on a somewhat irregular basis.’
      • ‘The syndrome should be suspected in women with hirsutism, irregular menstruation, or infertility.’
      • ‘When he finally drew away, her breathing was irregular and she appeared flustered.’
      inconsistent, unsteady, uneven, shaky, fitful, patchy, variable, varying, changeable, changing, ever-changing, on-and-off, off-and-on, inconstant, erratic, haphazard, unstable, unsettled, spasmodic, sporadic, episodic, intermittent, occasional, unpunctual, wavering, fluctuating, aperiodic, unsystematic, unmethodical, capricious
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    2. 1.2Botany (of a flower) having the petals differing in size and shape; zygomorphic.
      • ‘This is a list of species found on this site with irregular flowers.’
      • ‘The fasciated stem extended in one plane, and the phyllotaxy of floral primordia was irregular.’
      • ‘Irregular flowers have only a single plane of symmetry.’
      • ‘The only specimen of P. ramispina bears a few small, irregular branches, but is otherwise similar to E. siniansis; it does not merit a separate taxon.’
      • ‘Irregular flowers are common in some species in the genus Commelina.’
  • 2Contrary to the rules or to that which is normal or established:

    ‘their involvement in irregular financial dealings’
    • ‘The tax situation becomes a little more complex for onshore bondholders who plan to draw down regular or irregular amounts.’
    • ‘The couple work long hours and have very irregular, seasonal business, so they needed sound financial advice on how to use their savings wisely.’
    • ‘The gentle formality of the house contrasts strongly with its irregular context and neighbouring suburban dwellings, but it does have precedents in New Zealand.’
    • ‘Urge incontinence results from irregular and unexpected bladder contraction, causing the patient to feel an urgent need to relieve herself or himself.’
    • ‘Memory, or at least my memory, is such an uneven and irregular thing.’
    • ‘Their rather irregular position within the Church of Ireland could not really continue.’
    • ‘It is claimed that leftover money from Eurostat contracts was placed in irregular reserves known as ‘financial envelopes’.’
    • ‘If irregular bleeding started with introduction of a new contraception pill, a change in the type of pill will be considered.’
    • ‘The union, representing about 4000 white farmers, said the judge's action was ‘highly irregular and improper’.’
    • ‘Indicated if labour is established but the contractions are of irregular intensity or duration.’
    • ‘I'm not having a lot of fun these days, because my life is so irregular, so chaotic.’
    • ‘In the last financial year Australia had 4450 asylum-seekers arrive in irregular fashion, that is, boat people.’
    • ‘They're aimed at the self-employed, contract workers and those on irregular incomes and enable applicants to simply declare their incomes without having to provide any accounts or pay slips to prove it.’
    • ‘However, this was found in contradiction of OUSU rules, necessitating an irregular by-election to be held via an extraordinary meeting of the Postgraduate Assembly.’
    • ‘It is no secret that some departments and individuals have overspent during the past financial year - not forgetting the irregular expenditure under investigation.’
    • ‘He is to take up the ANC's decision, which he called irregular and unacceptable, with the Local Government and Housing official.’
    • ‘In contrast, it showed that all planetary and most irregular nebulae are traveling at very low speeds - some toward us and some away from us.’
    • ‘The Defendant alleged in its counterclaim that it was entitled to damages for claims presented in an improper and irregular fashion.’
    • ‘Apparently such procedural irregularities, including violations of long-standing court rules, are not so irregular.’
    against the rules, contrary to the rules, out of order, Improper, incorrect, illegitimate, unscrupulous, unethical, unprofessional
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    1. 2.1 (of troops) not belonging to regular or established army units.
      • ‘Noriega had become increasingly dictatorial, relied on irregular paramilitary units, and was involved in drug trafficking.’
      • ‘The biggest achievement, we think, is the formation of a system of views on the conduct of combat operations against irregular units.’
      • ‘He commanded an irregular cavalry with the most striking uniforms which conquered many parts of the country for the British.’
      • ‘The Army's 1899 Philippine Campaign led to important doctrine for irregular warfare.’
      • ‘This language seems to take for granted that the armed forces of the parties to a conflict will abide by the four criteria specifically applicable to irregular troops.’
      • ‘Those operations will most certainly involve combat against both regular and irregular forces.’
      • ‘A better term might be irregular warfare, war against enemies unable or unwilling to field professional armies.’
      • ‘As the theatre of war moved south, so did the smallpox, primarily affecting civilians, camp followers, and irregular troops in both armies.’
      • ‘The irregular rebel army is the racially and sexually integrated volunteer force of the post-Vietnam era.’
      • ‘The Sanfedists were made into the irregular troops of the Papacy and all justice was dispensed in Church courts.’
      • ‘The fighting force was to be divided into three irregular units.’
      • ‘Much of the countryside remains under the control of the Afghan warlords who use heroin money to maintain their irregular armies of up to 10,000 each.’
      • ‘From now on, they were to be regarded as the irregular troops of a military alliance at war with the United States, and indeed the civilized world as a whole.’
      • ‘The army and Marine Corps began to form and train units for irregular or guerrilla war operations.’
      • ‘The Army has historically viewed irregular warfare as a temporary anomaly.’
      • ‘Not only did he understand the new tactics, he was also able to put them into practice using a smaller army made up of irregular troops.’
      • ‘Before the state commission army, forces were assembled from diverse sources, including mercenary bands and irregular bodies of troops raised by local nobles.’
      • ‘Terrorists are illegal irregular combatants who violate international laws and murder innocent civilians; they can and should be targeted.’
      • ‘British troops clash with irregular forces during a raid in Basra.’
      • ‘In fact, regular as well as irregular troops opposed the US in many of the conflicts Boot cites.’
      guerrilla, underground
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  • 3Grammar
    (of a verb or other word) having inflections that do not conform to the usual rules.

    • ‘However, he's mistaken when he says that ‘Esperanto is probably the only language to have no irregular verbs.’’
    • ‘In some irregular verbs, these functions are served by different forms.’
    • ‘The questions required knowledge of some words, but also of an irregular verb form and some grammatical terminology.’
    • ‘The reader will not find lists of irregular verb forms or instructions for punctuating dialogue.’
    • ‘Note that ‘to spy’ is always an irregular verb, only the third person form resembles the infinitive.’

noun

  • 1A member of an irregular military force.

    • ‘Even aside from the bloody, two and a half century-long experience of struggle against native American irregulars, when has the country waged a plausibly symmetrical conflict?’
    • ‘Beware of irregulars and infiltrators trying to pass as civilians.’
    • ‘The Filipino operational center of gravity was the ability to sustain its force of 100,000 irregulars in the field.’
    • ‘During the war, beginning in eastern France, it was used to refer to groups of irregulars who had organized themselves to fight the Germans.’
    • ‘One report said that British forces faced ' lightly armed irregulars '.’
    • ‘Reconstruction efforts are under way, but American troops remain targets of almost daily attacks by Iraqi irregulars.’
    • ‘Christian irregulars, seemingly cooperating with the military, forced the Muslim leaders to flee.’
    • ‘Other combat units went in and used better reconnaissance and fighting skills to methodically eliminate the irregulars.’
    • ‘While repeating the Pentagon line that these irregulars were ‘forced to fight,’ Wallace acknowledged indirectly that the US military faces a hostile population.’
    • ‘Stricter martial law often applied to border states like Kentucky and Missouri, where populations with Confederate sympathies provided support for Confederate irregulars.’
    • ‘US forces now see the main threat as ambushes by irregulars and some foreign volunteers.’
    • ‘After all, in both wars, most of the fighting was against irregulars, who operated among civilians.’
    • ‘Personal leadership must still be exercised on these most ferocious of battlefields as we face shattered remnants and irregulars.’
    • ‘The mission, supposed to take roughly an hour, degenerated into a 15-hour shootout between 120 American soldiers and several thousand Somali irregulars and clan militia.’
    • ‘Apparently, this is equally true among guerrillas and other irregulars.’
    • ‘The basic U.S. strength in Afghanistan is 17,000 troops of " straight-legged " infantry - conventional forces ill-prepared to handle irregulars.’
    • ‘He's learnt that irregulars and paramilitaries can cause problems, using things like human shields.’
    • ‘In its essence, this battle was typical of all those against the Iraqi irregulars.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, specially trained anti-guerilla units, cavalry and African scouts and irregulars did much of the actual fighting.’
    • ‘Amitav Ghosh spent many weeks, at great personal risk, with the irregulars fighting the military regime in Burma.’
    guerrilla, underground fighter
    paramilitary
    resistance fighter, partisan, mercenary
    View synonyms
  • 2North American An imperfect piece of merchandise sold at a reduced price.

Origin

Late Middle English (in the sense ‘not conforming to rule (especially that of the Church’)): via Old French from medieval Latin irregularis, from in- not + regularis (see regular).

Pronunciation:

irregular

/ɪˈrɛɡjʊlə/