Irreducable: new word or typo?

While looking up “taboo” out of idle curiosity, I run into a perplexing ‘irreducable’ ("… have reconstructed an irreducable Proto-Polynesian… ").
Though a non-native speaker, in the course of a long life I’ve been exposed to countless English terms, many of them belonging to highly restricted professional lingos, pidgins and jargons and as such rather alien to the layman. Which taught me extreme caution before crying ‘typo, typo!’.
Also because ‘irreducible’ wouldn’t fit very well in the sentence - unless in that context it means that it would be pointless to dig any deeper - and ‘irrefutable’ would entail two typos rather than just one.

I’m perplexed…

On a different note: while Etymonline proposes “taboo” only as an adjective, I think I’ve seen it being used also as a noun (“the local taboos”, “a cultural taboo” etc.).

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Sometimes reducable it is cited along with one of these:
Enumerable, Collectable, Reducable, Countable.

Yes, I stumbled upon elixirforum too, but it didn’t cast much light on the possible meaning of “reducable” : there it looks rather like one of those fancy terms (such as e.g. “big endian”, “keylogger”, “BIOS” or “hotfix”) coined by software people to show some superiority over us mere mortals :wink:

Any hint about what “irreducable” may mean in a ProtoPolynesian context?

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Hey Chiron,

It’s pretty clear that irreducable is a typo and should be irreducible. This word just means that something can’t be broken down any further. A synonym would be indivisible, but irreducible probably has a more lingual connotation. In the context of the taboo entry, the word is just saying that the root *tapu is the smallest division that still carries meaning.

As far as taboo parts of speech, both verb and noun usage are included in the entry:

The noun (“prohibitory restraining injunction”) and verb (“to put under taboo”) are English innovations first recorded in Cook’s account [OED, 2nd ed., 1989].

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Thanks Scott, both for confirming that irreducable is a typo and for your interpretation of it, actually close enough to my tentative “not worth digging any further”.

As for the use of taboo as other than an adjective, I must confess that I had just overlooked that part - definitely my fault :flushed:

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•	Ir- is a prefix meaning "not"
•	Reducible comes from the verb "reduce" which means to make something smaller, simpler, or less.

So, irreducible literally translates to “not reducible.”
Here are some examples of how irreducible is used in a sentence:
• The scientist believed there must be some irreducible element in the universe. (This means there must be something fundamental that cannot be broken down any further).
• We were able to negotiate the price down to the irreducible minimum. (This means the absolute lowest price we were willing to accept).
• In mathematics, an irreducible polynomial is one that cannot be factored into simpler polynomials."

… and in chemistry, when a reactant cannot gain any more electrons, and in orthopedics when a dislocation cannot be restored, and in philosophy when a statement cannot be disproved by means of reductio ad absurdum, and… and…
However the original question here was whether “irreducable” was a typo or an uncommon word having an own peculiar meaning, not what the hell should the good old “irreducible” mean :grin:

Educable: can be educated

Irrational: outside of the rational

Irreducable: can be educated, but only outside; presumably involving a woodshed, back alley, parking lot, or other place where “alternative educational practices” are customarily meted out

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Quite a fascinating hypothesis indeed!
Even more so in its integral version “irreeducable” - from in- (negative prefix, assimilated to ir) -re-educable, denoting an impenitent dissident or heretic who cannot be rehabilitated and as such must be sent to Antarctica, buried alive, confined to a remote government office or anyway disposed of for the sake of uniformity of opinions.