# join irreducibility

An element $a$ in a lattice $L$ is said to be join irreducible iff $a$ is not a bottom element, and, whenever $a=b\vee c$, then $a=b$ or $a=c$. Dually, $a\in L$ is meet irreducible iff $a$ is not a top element, and, whenever $a=b\wedge c$, then $a=b$ or $a=c$. If $a$ is both join and meet irreducible  , then $a$ is said to be irreducible. Any atom in a lattice is join irreducible.

Example. In the lattice diagram (Hasse diagram) below,

 $\xymatrix{&1\ar@{-}[d]&\\ &a\ar@{-}[ld]\ar@{-}[rd]\\ b\ar@{-}[rd]&&c\ar@{-}[ld]\\ &d\ar@{-}[d]&\\ &0}$

$a$ is meet irreducible but not join irreducible, $d$ is join irreducible but not meet irreducible, while $b,c$ are irreducible.

From this, we make the observations that in any chain, all the elements except the bottom one are join irreducible. Dually, all the elements except the top one are meet irreducible. An element is join irreducible iff it covers (http://planetmath.org/CoveringRelation) at most one other element. An element is meet irreducible iff it is covered by at most one other element.

## References

• 1 B. A. Davey, H. A. Priestley, Introduction to Lattices and Order, 2nd Edition, Cambridge (2003)
Title join irreducibility JoinIrreducibility 2013-03-22 15:47:29 2013-03-22 15:47:29 CWoo (3771) CWoo (3771) 10 CWoo (3771) Definition msc 06B99 join-irreducible meet-irreducible join irreducible meet irreducible irreducible