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1. Marked by a lack of responsibility: irresponsible accusations.
2. Lacking a sense of responsibility; unreliable or untrustworthy.
3. Not liable to be called to account by a higher authority.
1. One who has no sense of responsibility.
2. One who is unlikely to be called to account by a higher authority.

ir′re·spon′si·bil′i·ty, ir′re·spon′si·ble·ness n.
ir′re·spon′si·bly adv.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.



do a moonlight flit To evade responsibility by leaving town during the night; to fly by night. This common British colloquialism, the equivalent of the American can fly by night, uses flit in the sense of moving from one residence to another, and moonlight to imply furtiveness associated with the move.

go between the moon and the milkman To leave town in order to evade creditors or other interested parties; to fly by night. This British colloquialism, the equivalent of the American fly by night, implies that, to avoid his personal and financial obligations, a person may depart clandestinely sometime between the rising of the moon (dusk) and the arrival of the milkman (dawn).

let George do it Let someone else do the work or assume the responsibility; pass the buck. This American colloquial expression dates from the turn of the century. George is a male generic term which derives from the Greek word for husbandman or farmer. By the 1920s this term was used by the British to refer to an airman, corresponding to Jack for a sailor (bluejacket) and Tommy for a soldier. George is also a British slang term for an automatic pilot in an aircraft or ship.

pass the buck To evade responsibility or blame by shifting it to someone else. Originally, pass the buck was a poker expression that meant handing the “buck” (a buckskin knife or other inanimate object) to another player in order to avoid some responsibility (such as dealing, starting a new jackpot, etc.) which fell on whoever possessed the “buck.”

I reckon I can’t call that hand. Ante and pass the buck. (Mark Twain, Roughing It, 1872)

As the expression became more figurative, it enjoyed widespread popular use, particularly in reference to bureaucratic procedures:

The Big Commissioner will get roasted by the papers and hand it to the Deputy Commish, and the Deputy will pass the buck down to me, and I’ll have to report how it happened. (William Irwin, The Red Button, 1912)

By the mid-1900s, pass the buck had become so intimately associated with governmental administration that during his presidency (1945-53), Harry Truman adopted the now-famous motto, “The buck stops here.”

pay with the roll of the drum Not to pay; to evade or ignore a debt. In this expression, roll of the drum implies a soldier on the march, i.e., in active military service. Since in many countries a soldier on active duty cannot be arrested for debts incurred while a civilian, it was common practice for debtors to join the armed services to avoid either having to make good on the debt or going to prison. The military connotations have faded over the years so that in contemporary usage, pay with the roll of the drum is usually applied figuratively.

Picturesque Expressions: A Thematic Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1980 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.irresponsibility - a form of untrustworthiness; the trait of lacking a sense of responsibility and not feeling accountable for your actions
untrustiness, untrustworthiness - the trait of not deserving trust or confidence
undependability, undependableness, unreliability, unreliableness - the trait of not being dependable or reliable
arbitrariness, flightiness, whimsicality, whimsy, whimsey, capriciousness - the trait of acting unpredictably and more from whim or caprice than from reason or judgment; "I despair at the flightiness and whimsicality of my memory"
carefreeness - the trait of being without worry or responsibility
responsibleness, responsibility - a form of trustworthiness; the trait of being answerable to someone for something or being responsible for one's conduct; "he holds a position of great responsibility"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
عَدَم مَسؤوليَّه


[ˈɪrɪsˌpɒnsəˈbɪlɪtɪ] Nirresponsabilidad f, falta f de responsabilidad
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[ˌɪrɪspɒnsɪˈbɪlɪti] nirresponsabilité f
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


n (of action, behaviour)Unverantwortlichkeit f; (of person)Verantwortungslosigkeit f
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


(iriˈsponsəbl) adjective
(of a person or his behaviour) not reliable, trustworthy or sensible; not responsible. irresponsible parents/conduct.
ˈirreˌsponsiˈbility noun
ˌirreˈsponsibly adverb
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.
References in classic literature ?
There was with her an overwhelming feeling of irresponsibility. There was the shock of the unexpected and the unaccustomed.
On these three considerations alone is based the conception of irresponsibility for crimes and the extenuating circumstances admitted by all legislative codes.
But as the fly in his ointment of jovial irresponsibility was his wife, Lenerengo--the prize shrew of Somo, who was as lean about the middle and all the rest of her as her husband was rotund; who was as remarkably sharp-spoken as he was soft-spoken; who was as ceaselessly energetic as he was unceasingly idle; and who had been born with a taste for the world as sour in her mouth as it was sweet in his.
An expression which Katharine knew well from her childhood, when he asked her to shield him in some neglect of duty, came into his eyes; malice, humor, and irresponsibility were blended in it.
She was a woman enjoying her complete irresponsibility and endless leisure, almost in the manner of a corpse.
In futherance of this choice, it so happened that a ship lay in the harbour; one of those unquestionable cruisers, frequent at that day, which, without being absolutely outlaws of the deep, yet roamed over its surface with a remarkable irresponsibility of character.
It was youth daring Fate, without show or bravado or fear; rolling the honey under his tongue and drawing in its sweetness; youth, that lives for the moment, that can be blind to the threatening future, that can forget the mean past; youth slipping along with some chewing-gum between his teeth and a warm sensation in his stew-crammed stomach, whistling, dreaming, happy; youth, that can, without premeditation, remain away from home and leave udders untapped and pigs unfed; sublime enigma; angering bit of irresponsibility to the Martins of a fiercely practical world.
All material objects around announced their irresponsibility with terrible iteration.
We lack altogether that delightful air of irresponsibility with which you Londoners seem to make your effortless way through life."
A caterer's thrifty concession to the universal passion for irresponsibility.
Nay, in his sleepy irresponsibility, he even found himself eyeing the knobbed and clumsy head of his own shabby umbrella, with some faint memories of the ogre's club in a coloured toy-book.
It was Phaethon who drove them to Fiesole that memorable day, a youth all irresponsibility and fire, recklessly urging his master's horses up the stony hill.