Antonym of 'replicable'

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Varenka, Aug 2, 2006.

  1. Varenka

    Varenka Senior Member

    Sydney, Australia
    Australia, English
    What is the antonym of replicable? I typed unreplicable but couldn't find it anywhere in the dictionary and the spell check underlined it. Any suggestions?

    Thanks
     
  2. GenJen54

    GenJen54 Senior Member

    Downright Pleasant, USA
    USA - English
    Hi Varenka,

    I think this is one of those situations where there is not an exact antonym for the word.

    Are you trying to use this in a particular sentence? Perhaps we could help you construct something that would work.
     
  3. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    I've found the word "irreplicable" all over the internet, but I have not yet found a dictionary to confirm its correctness.
     
  4. bianconera

    bianconera Senior Member

    West Palm Beach Florida
    Italiano -( Rome) additionally Bilingual - English USA and Spanish ( S. Florida )
    I would just say unable to copy or replicate
    On the Free dictionary it says irreproducible - impossible to reproduce
     
  5. foxfirebrand

    foxfirebrand Senior Member

    The Northern Rockies
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    What's wrong with JamesM's offering? Why should we not use a word, or coin one where needed, just because the dictionaries have not gotten around to recording them yet?

    The main problem for me is that "replicate" is such a specific verb, and the -able suffix strikes my ear as incompatible with it. To replicate is a very bold move, and it's an action verb like "give birth"-- "replicable" makes it sound as if the thing doing the action is being acted upon.

    Or do scientists use replicate transitively, to indicate what they do when they "grow" DNA? I would more logically call that "inducing replication." You know, like a doctor induces labor-- you don't call that birthifying or some such thing, and invite the coinage of adjectival monstrosities like unbirthifiable, after all.
    .
     
  6. jimreilly Senior Member

    Minneapolis
    American English
    If it's all over the internet, and if people keep using it and know what it means, some day it will be in dictionaries even if it isn't there today.

    When there is a need for a word, sometimes several candidates appear. One might catch on....and, like magic, suddenly it is "correct". Maybe even more than one....

    We also might notice that many words stay in dictionaries for a long time even if people don't use them often, or use them in the same way. Once a word is "correct" it stays that way for a long time.
     
  7. Varenka

    Varenka Senior Member

    Sydney, Australia
    Australia, English
    Hey everyone,

    It's rather hard to put this in a proper context as such because it's actually in a poem I am writing, and so words like 'irreproducible' and 'unbirthifiable' sound to long and cluttery for this particular poem.

    Here is the extract where the word is found:

    'The wisdom of Mother Nature
    Lies encrypted in your spiralling layers
    A code irreplicable, undecipherable.'

    How does this sound?
     
  8. bianconera

    bianconera Senior Member

    West Palm Beach Florida
    Italiano -( Rome) additionally Bilingual - English USA and Spanish ( S. Florida )
    sounds good to me:)
     
  9. Varenka

    Varenka Senior Member

    Sydney, Australia
    Australia, English
    I just searched both irreplicable and unreplicable in google, and interestingly enough, for unreplicable there were 10,200 results, whereas irreplicable had just 580.
    To me they both sound correct, but I guess unreplicable is used more often then.
     
  10. . 1 Senior Member

    Ferntree Gully
    Australian Australia
    The word is completely understandable and in the context of poetry quite reasonable because you are able to twist more meanings form the slight jar of the slightly unfamiliar word.
    You use an unusual word to describe an unusual concept.

    .,,
     
  11. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    Well, if it's just a matter of choice, I'd choose "irreplicable" over "unreplicable", simply because it falls in line with other words starting in "rep-": irreparable, irreplaceable, irrepressible, etc. :) It seems to follow a pattern, doesn't it? Irresponsible, irreverent, irreducible, irregular, irrational, irrefutable, irredeemable, irreligious, etc.
     
  12. maxiogee Senior Member

    imithe
    Unrepeatable
     
  13. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    The meaning is clear, the word causes no jarring on the way through the ear.
    In your context, you might prefer Tony's unrepeatable for the sound of the line, but if you feel irreplicable sounds better, go for it. Or indeed unreplicable, though that seems less pleasant for the reasons JamesM explained.
     
  14. I could suggest ''nonreproducible' or 'non-reproducing', depending on whether you want a transitive or an intransitive meaning, but after reading your little snippet of poetry I believe your own word to be far superior and, if coined, hey, it's poetry and you have a license if you know how to use it. You seem to.
     
  15. jimreilly Senior Member

    Minneapolis
    American English
    I love it, Varenka, I think it sounds great, better than any of the proposed alternatives. Good going!
     
  16. foxfirebrand

    foxfirebrand Senior Member

    The Northern Rockies
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    Uhh...JamesM offered that exact word in post #3, and I chimed in in support in post #5-- where I proceeded to dither about not liking replicate as a verb susceptible to any adjective.
    .
     
  17. jimreilly Senior Member

    Minneapolis
    American English
    I didn't mean to take any credit away from JamesM, just meant to praise Varenka and her poem etc.!
     
  18. river Senior Member

    U.S. English
    "Nonreplicable" is used in scientific papers and journals.
     
  19. Varenka

    Varenka Senior Member

    Sydney, Australia
    Australia, English
    Thanks very much Jim :)
     
  20. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    Just a note... I believe "unrepeatable" and "irreplicable" can actually communicate two different things. Something can be repeated that is not "copy-able."

    For example, take the following hypothetical sentences:

    "Houdini repeated his amazing underwater escape from chains today in New York in front of a stunned crowd of spectators. The feat has proved irreplicable by other stuntmen and magicians despite their best efforts; in fact, two men have lost their lives in such attempts."
     
  21. mzsweeett

    mzsweeett Senior Member

    USA
    USA, American English
    Too funny that I found this thread! I was just discussing this very word!! So, I was talking to the Google-God.. and it told me that in essence, there is the "urban" form of the word "irreplicable" and the "accepted proper" form "unreplicable". What I find strange is that this word according to traditional standards for English grammar should be "ir". i agree with JamesM on his previous post. I also prefer the "ir" for the purpose of this post because it meshes better with the context :)

    SweetT
     
  22. ganacka Senior Member

    USA - American English
    Hi all,

    Can anyone give me any guidance as to whether "irreplicable", meaning not possible to replicate, is acceptable? Can anyone suggest an alternative word that I'm not thinking of?

    Thanks.
     
  23. Majorbloodnock Senior Member

    South East England
    British English
    Could you provide context, please, ganacka? Copy-protected might apply for digital storage media, and irreplaceable for something that cannot be replaced. However, it's difficult to be more specific without understanding what you're trying to say.
     
  24. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    Please provide us with a complete sentence at a minimum as context, ganacka, per forum rules and guidelines. Some background would help, too. Are we talking about artistic performances? Software? Database backup? Robots? Viruses? Results of experiments?

    I can think of several possibilities but they depend entirely on context.
     
  25. ganacka Senior Member

    USA - American English
    Good point. It's in reference to an art object. I want to say "irreplicable art object", i.e., a painting or sculpture that is a unique creation impossible to duplicate.
     
  26. ganacka Senior Member

    USA - American English
    He holds a firm belief in the value of irreplicable art objects.
     
  27. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    I would use "irreplaceable" in this context. It might be technically possible to reproduce the Mona Lisa but the reproduction would not have the inestimable value of the original. The Mona Lisa is irreplaceable.
     
  28. George French Senior Member

    English - UK
    If you try looking up irreplicable in dictionaries, it is not in many of then....

    The Urban Directory gives: "Not able to be replaced or reproduced. Note: This is NOT a word, but it so should be lol."

    Try irreplaceable instead.

    GF..
     
  29. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    When I hear the term " a replica of X" I understand it to mean that it is not the original but a copy fabricated to look identical to the original X. In that sense, not many things could be described as "irreplicable" even if it were a word. It therefore does not convey the sense you wish to convey. Irreplaceable is much closer - there will only ever be one original.
     
  30. ganacka Senior Member

    USA - American English
    Ok, thanks. I agree with Urban Dictionary... I wish it was a word. What I really want to say is "not possible to replicate" which seems to me to be slightly different than "not possible to replace". My purpose is to convey that, unlike a photograph or a silkscreen, a painting or sculpture that is made with one's hands is impossible to copy. If a painting were destroyed it could be replaced by another one (another one could take its place) but it could never be replicated (a true replica could never be created). I know this is splitting hairs, but this is the point I'm trying to make. Perhaps I'll use "unique art object".
     
  31. ganacka Senior Member

    USA - American English
    JulianStuart, good point. Thanks
     
  32. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    There is the word "unreproduceable". We have so many words that have shades of meaning in this area that I don't think we need a new one right now.

    Here's an interesting passage with "unreproduceable" in it:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-e...d-eyre-on-the-meaning-of-culture-1819476.html

    The great Florentine grandee Piero de' Medici is alleged to have commissioned Michelangelo to make a sculpture in snow after a rare snowfall in Tuscany. Michelangelo's snowman was said to have been his greatest work, but you had to have been there to have seen it – it was as frail, as mutable, as vulnerable and as unreproduceable as a theatre performance and, like a theatre performance, it lived on only in the memory.
     
  33. ganacka Senior Member

    USA - American English
    "Unreproduceable" doesn't appear to be included in dictionaries either...
     
  34. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod

    Sorry. That was my mistake. I do get hits for "unreproducible".

    Ironically, it has the exact definition provided in the Urban Dictionary for the non-word irreplicable:

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/unreproducible

    impossible to reproduce or duplicate;


    (It is interesting that I picked up the same misspelling as others obviously have, since I found hits for "unreproduceable". It is a rare word for me to type.)
     
  35. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Would unique carry the same sense?
    Irreplaceable sounds good, though.
     
  36. ganacka Senior Member

    USA - American English
    Yea, I think irreplaceable is good. I just came up with unrepeatable. That could work, too.
     
  37. wittRules New Member

    English
    Hi, I don't think 'irreplicable' is an accepted word in the dictionaries. However, I think it has a sense (well I've used it in a sentence I was just writing): if you can 'replicate' something, it means you can copy it. So suppose you have two things, call them A and B, that have some similarities (and where just what those similarities are is relative to the context where A and B are involved). And you go on to ask whether A and B have any differences, it may be that A has some characteristics that are 'irreplicable', nothing can copy them, or, at the least, B cannot replicate them. Does that make sense?

    I think this is a response to 'JulianStuart'
     
  38. Beryl from Northallerton Moderator

    British English
    Hello wittRules, and Welcome to the Forum :)

    We seem to be talking about a word that has no definition, and so seems to yield multiple interpretations - in which sense are you using it? :)
     
  39. wittRules New Member

    English
    Specifically, I was using it in the context of philosophical problems about the nature of psychiatry. Something like: the problems that beset the nature of psychiatry, problems about the mind body relationship, the mind and brain, mind and environment, and so on, are irreplicable within the rest of 'straightforwardly' physical medicine. That is, the theoretical problems that beset psychiatry cannot be replicated within the rest of medicine. For example, there is a problem about whether mental illness itself really exists at all, this problem cannot be replicated within straightforwardly physical medicine- we cannot deny that physical illness itself exists. So the problems are irreplicable. Does that context give 'irreplicable' a sense? I'm not sure I see a problem with it...
     
  40. wandle

    wandle Senior Member

    London
    English - British
    According to the OED the word does not exist:
    Certainly, 'unique' expresses the idea.
    Other options: 'one of a kind' or 'sui generis' (which is Latin for 'of its own kind').

    @ Wittrules:
    In a research study it is probably best not to invent a word without stating that you are doing so, and what you mean by it.
    You could simply say 'not replicable'.

    Edit: as a further thought, if Witt rules OK, would it not be better to pass over this non-existent word in silence?
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2012
  41. wittRules New Member

    English
    I'm not sure it has to be considered as a pure 'invention', or as made-up as a random conjunction of letters: Rather it seems a fairly natural extension of the grammar of 'replicate' - I mean I could say it is 'not replicable', but it sounds jutted and awkward. As how 'that vase is not replacable' sounds awkward as opposed to 'that vase is irreplacable'.. Dictionary definition aside, I don't see a problem with the grammar of 'irreplicable'. Dictionary needs updating :)
     
  42. Andygc

    Andygc Senior Member

    Devon
    British English
    No, dictionaries reflect usage, they do not dictate it. If you choose to coin a new word it may or may not be adopted by others. If it is it will eventually appear in a dictionary. I find your use of replicable in this context odd. The word is usually used to discuss the reproducibility of experimental results. Since you are comparing psychological medicine with physical medicine the concept of replication cannot exist because you are not repeating an identical experiment, but are comparing apples with oranges.
     
  43. wandle

    wandle Senior Member

    London
    English - British
    The only yardstick we have to tell whether a word is an invention or not is the dictionary.
    As far as I know, the OED is the best dictionary of English.
     
  44. wittRules New Member

    English
    Hi Andygc. I think I disagree with you here. You say 'replicable' usually means reproducibility of 'experimental results'; I think this is misleading- the word might be used in relation to experimental results, but not 'usually', and not necessarily. Suppose Leonardo's painting technique was, (ex hypothesis), 'unreproducable' [or 'irreplicable']: By this we would mean nobody could copy it, (due his skill or a lack of knowledge about the techiques he used or whatever), but this doesn't have anything to do with experimental results. Anyhow, you go on to tie what I was saying about the problems that beset psychiatry as irreplicable within straightforwardly physical medicine as like comparing apples and oranges- I'm not sure I understand this criticism. I mean, my point is that, yes, you can't repeat/ reproduce/ replicate some of the problems that apply to psychiatric medicine, to physical medicine, but this is precisely because those kinds of problems are irreplicable. So I guess, using your terminology, one might try to 'repeat an identical experiment' by applying the conceptual problems relating to psychiatry to the rest of medicine, and we find out that we can't- so the attempt to 'repeat the experiment' fails precisely because the experiment is irreplicable.
     
  45. Andygc

    Andygc Senior Member

    Devon
    British English
    No, that's what the OED says, and as I said before, dictionaries reflect how the language is used. By all means use "irreplicable" if you want to, just expect your readers to be surprised and those who have dictionaries to wonder why you used a word that they cannot find.
     
  46. wittRules New Member

    English
    Ok, I understand that it's not in the OED, I'm just suggesting that it could well be, because it has a sense that is fairly easy to comprehend within the confines of grammar. It's just an extension of 'replicate', as 'revoke' is to 'irrvocable' or 'reversible' is to 'irreversible', 'replacable' to 'irreplacable' etc. Anway, I'm going to use it :)
     
  47. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Regardless of whether "irreplicable" is an acceptable term, it doesn't seem to make sense within the context.
    Something like: the problems that beset the nature of psychiatry, problems about the mind body relationship, the mind and brain, mind and environment, and so on, are irreplicable within the rest of 'straightforwardly' physical medicine. That is, the theoretical problems that beset psychiatry cannot be replicated within the rest of medicine. For example, there is a problem about whether mental illness itself really exists at all, this problem cannot be replicated within straightforwardly physical medicine- we cannot deny that physical illness itself exists. So the problems are irreplicable.
    .
    It is not, surely, that these problems cannot be replicated within the rest of medicine.
    It seems that they do not exist within the rest of medicine, or there are no comparable problems within the rest of medicine.
    I don't feel that "replicate" is the appropriate concept here.

    PS This thread has been added to an earlier thread on the same topic. It may be helpful to read from the beginning of the now-merged thread.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2012
  48. Andygc

    Andygc Senior Member

    Devon
    British English
    Which is where I was coming from with my apples and oranges.
     
  49. pwmeek

    pwmeek Senior Member

    SE Michigan, USA
    English - American
    Of all the suggestions, I think your own is best.
     
  50. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    The issue here is not whether the word irreplicable is a "valid" word or not, but that what we mean by "replicate" has nuances and we don't immediately know which aspect is being negated - so its precise antonymic meaning is not successfully communicated.

    I am unconvinced by the "it's not in the dictionary therefore it is not a valid word" argument. Its creation follows well-worn mechanisms for word creation and everyone who sees it (irreplicable) understands exactly what it tries to convey (even if there is doubt in their mind as to what exactly is meant, physically or figuratively by "replicate") as "unable to be replicated". Some meanings are incommunicable (or perhaps uncommunicable). Thus there can be many "valid" words that just haven't been used yet (much). I found the word "repolish" - to polish again. I did not find "repolisher" in the dictionary. " A person responsible for polishing again" - that's a pretty obvious definition. Unfortunately, it would probably not be acceptable in Scrabble :(
     

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