Word of the Day | irreparableBy THE LEARNING NETWORK
irreparable •\i-ˈre-p(ə-)rə-bəl, ˌi(r)\• adjective: impossible to fix, rectify, or amend
The word irreparable has appeared in 54 New York Times articles in the past year, including on Oct. 10 in “Reincarnation of Treasured Instrument” by James R. Oestreich:
This was a sound no musician should have to suffer: the destruction of her longtime instrument. In Wu Man’s case, in June, it was a loud crack, heard from her seat as a flight attendant, trying to stow her pipa in a coat closet up front, dropped it, breaking its neck.
The pipa is a Chinese lute of ancient origin, with four plucked strings and a pear-shaped body, played upright in the lap. Its back consists of a single heavy piece of wood, exquisitely curved from a rounded bottom to a tapering neck.
With that neck broken clean off the body, Ms. Wu’s instrument of 17 years, valued at some $50,000 and uninsured, was deemed irreparable. But thanks to US Airways, whose employee inflicted the damage, Ms. Wu has a new pipa, made in Beijing by the same master who had made her old one.