iras·​ci·​ble i-ˈra-sə-bəl How to pronounce irascible (audio)
: marked by hot temper and easily provoked anger
irascibility noun
irascibleness noun
irascibly adverb

Did you know?

Irascible Has an Angry History

If you try to take apart irascible on the model of irrational, irresistible, and irresponsible you might find yourself wondering what ascible means—but that's not how irascible came to be. The key to the meaning of irascible isn't the negating prefix ir- (which is the form of the prefix in- that is used before words beginning with "r"), but rather the Latin noun ira, meaning "anger." From ira, which is also the root of irate and ire, came the Latin verb irasci ("to become angry") and the related adjective irascibilis, the latter of which led to the French word irascible. English speakers borrowed the word from French in the 16th century.

Examples of irascible in a Sentence

an irascible old football coach He has an irascible disposition.
Recent Examples on the Web Bogart was a drinker and an irascible loner, but these defects only burnished his legend. Andrew O’Hagan, The New Yorker, 27 Nov. 2023 Not all of Reeves’ companions are irascible older white men. Alison Herman, Variety, 3 Nov. 2023 Rick is someone who has a great deal of irascible energy. Tim Grierson, Los Angeles Times, 27 Feb. 2023 One key figure in the campaign was the irascible Des Moines Register writer Donald Kaul, who continually revisited the issue in his columns. Joshua Kagavi, Smithsonian Magazine, 4 Oct. 2023 In a bizarre episode, the irascible Jones just walked off the field Aug. 3 following a contentious rep. Globe Staff,, 6 Sep. 2023 Lauria and Long bring this sometimes irascible, always engaging couple to vivid life. Terry Byrne,, 8 Aug. 2023 His lovable, irascible personality was cover for a beautiful, brilliant, deep-feeling giant of a man. Vulture, 8 Aug. 2023 Spielberg's third Indy outing is a rousing affair, mainly thanks to Sean Connery arriving like a force of nature as Indy's lovably irascible dad, Henry. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, 30 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'irascible.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle French, from Late Latin irascibilis, from Latin irasci to become angry, be angry, from ira

First Known Use

circa 1530, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of irascible was circa 1530


Dictionary Entries Near irascible

Cite this Entry

“Irascible.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


iras·​ci·​ble ir-ˈas-ə-bəl How to pronounce irascible (audio)
: having a hot temper and easily angered
irascibility noun
irascibly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on irascible

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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