iras·​ci·​ble | \ i-ˈra-sə-bəl How to pronounce irascible (audio) \

Definition of irascible

: marked by hot temper and easily provoked anger

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Other Words from irascible

irascibility \ i-​ˌra-​sə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce irascible (audio) \ noun
irascibleness \ i-​ˈra-​sə-​bəl-​nəs How to pronounce irascible (audio) \ noun
irascibly \ i-​ˈra-​sə-​blē How to pronounce irascible (audio) \ adverb

Irascible Has an Angry History

If you try to take apart "irascible" in the same manner as "irrational," "irresistible," or "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 negative prefix ir- (which is used before words that begin with "r"), but 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"), which led to French 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 Klopp has, at times, appeared noticeably more irascible than usual this season, clashing with television reporters, snapping at journalists in news conferences, exchanging cross words with opposing managers. New York Times, "A Collision at Anfield Does Little to Slow Liverpool’s Fall," 20 Feb. 2021 Gene Hackman is great as Royal Tenenbaum, the irascible patriarch of the clan, but this is really Anderson’s show, boasting one of his smartest screenplays. Brian Tallerico, Vulture, "The 100 Best Movies on Amazon Prime Right Now," 16 Jan. 2021 Famous for his irascible perfectionism, Zappa is remembered with affection by Gail and his former bandmates, who speak admiringly, if ruefully, of their exacting, aloof and withholding leader. Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, "The ‘difficult genius’ trope was always problematic. Now it’s obsolete.," 26 Nov. 2020 Reynolds is most memorable as the formidable George Washington and irascible elderly John Quincy Adams. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: Streaming presidents and love stories keeping San Diego theater fans busy," 26 Oct. 2020 Indeed, Judge Barrett shares the originalist judicial philosophy exemplified by the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, but approaches her work with a far more collegial demeanor than her famously irascible former boss. Lisa Mascaro, The Christian Science Monitor, "Judge Amy Coney Barrett headed for full Senate vote Monday," 25 Oct. 2020 Like my daughters, sentimental, irresponsible, and strong; like my sons: irascible, unborn. Ben Lerner, The New York Review of Books, "The Son," 20 Aug. 2020 Few expect the sometimes-irascible politician to sit by idly in a future Arce government. Carlos Valdez And Joshua Goodman, The Christian Science Monitor, "Bolivia's exit polls: Former Morales minister poised to win," 19 Oct. 2020 Hoffman, an irascible 74-year-old with blatant disdain for the defendants, ordered Seale restrained. Jeanne Dorin Mcdowell, Smithsonian Magazine, "The True Story of the ‘Trial of the Chicago 7’," 15 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'irascible.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of irascible

circa 1530, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for irascible

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

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Time Traveler for irascible

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The first known use of irascible was circa 1530

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Last Updated

27 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Irascible.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for irascible



English Language Learners Definition of irascible

: becoming angry very easily : having a bad temper


iras·​ci·​ble | \ i-ˈra-sə-bəl How to pronounce irascible (audio) \

Kids Definition of irascible

: easily angered

More from Merriam-Webster on irascible

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for irascible

Nglish: Translation of irascible for Spanish Speakers

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