irrepressible (adj.) 1767, from assimilated form of IN- (Cf. in-) (1) "not, opposite of" + repressible (see REPRESS (Cf. repress)).
Increase of population, which is filling the States out to their very borders, together with a new and extended network of railroads and other avenues, and an internal commerce which daily becomes more intimate, is rapidly bringing the States into a higher and more perfect social unity or consolidation. Thus, these antagonistic systems are continually coming into closer contact, and collision results.
Shall I tell you what this collision means? They who think that it is accidental, unnecessary, the work of interested or fanatical agitators, and therefor ephemeral, mistake the case altogether. It is an irrepressible conflict between opposing and enduring forces, and it means that the United States must and will, sooner or later, become either entirely a slaveholding nation, or entirely a free-labor nation. [William H. Seward, speech at Rochester, N.Y., Oct. 2, 1858]
Related: Irrepressibly.

Etymology dictionary. 2014.


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  • irrépressible — [ irepresibl ] adj. • 1845; de 1. in et répressible ♦ Qu on ne peut réprimer, contenir, refréner. Force, passion irrépressible. ⇒ impérieux, incoercible, irrésistible. Une histoire « qui nous secouait de rires irrépressibles » (A. Gide). Une… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Irrepressible — Ir re*press i*ble, a. Not capable of being repressed, restrained, or controlled; as, irrepressible joy; an irrepressible conflict. W. H. Steward. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • irrepressible — index hot blooded, indomitable, intractable, rampant, uncontrollable, unruly Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • irrepressible — meaning ‘that cannot be restrained’, is spelt ible, not able. See able, ible …   Modern English usage

  • irrepressible — [adj] effervescent, vivacious boisterous, bubbling, buoyant, ebullient, enthusiastic, insuppressible, rebellious, rhapsodical, tumultous/tumultuous, unconstrained, uncontainable, uncontrollable, unmanageable, unquenchable, unrestrainable,… …   New thesaurus

  • irrepressible — ► ADJECTIVE ▪ not able to be restrained. DERIVATIVES irrepressibly adverb …   English terms dictionary

  • irrepressible — [ir΄ripres′ə bəl] adj. that cannot be repressed or restrained irrepressibility n. irrepressibly adv …   English World dictionary

  • irrepressible — [[t]ɪ̱rɪpre̱sɪb(ə)l[/t]] ADJ GRADED An irrepressible person is lively and energetic and never seems to be depressed. ...the irrepressible Viv Allen... Jon s exuberance was irrepressible. Derived words: irrepressibly [[t]ɪ̱rɪpre̱sɪbli[/t]] ADV… …   English dictionary

  • IRRÉPRESSIBLE — adj. des deux genres Qu’on ne peut réprimer, contenir. Une force irrépressible. Un abus irrépressible …   Dictionnaire de l'Academie Francaise, 8eme edition (1935)

  • irrepressible — ir|re|press|i|ble [ ,ırı presəbl ] adjective lively, confident, and impossible to control: He was an irrepressible man of great imagination. a display of irrepressible enthusiasm ╾ ir|re|press|i|bly adverb …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

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