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 irascibility (audio) \ noun
irascibleness \ i-​ˈra-​sə-​bəl-​nəs How to pronounce irascibleness (audio) \ noun
irascibly \ i-​ˈra-​sə-​blē How to pronounce irascibly (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 The candidate never lost consciousness and never stopped being his irascible self. Rachel Manteuffel, Washington Post, "Maybe his demise was less about ideology or policy — and more about the candidate himself," 23 Mar. 2020 Fans of the show remember Tarantina as Jackie, the irascible emcee at the Gaslight comedy club. Washington Post, "Why did Brian Tarantina get so many shout-outs at the SAG Awards? He was a truly great character actor.," 23 Jan. 2020 And that’s easily the most plausible bit in the entire book, which is otherwise packed with Lafferty’s typically irascible comic genius. Scott Bradfield, The New Republic, "Science Fiction’s Wonderful Mistakes," 16 Dec. 2019 Spall’s Turner is irascible and uncommunicative, seemingly a thundercloud charged with negativity. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "The 10 Best Movie Performances of the 2010s," 14 Nov. 2019 Everyone who knew Robin loved her as amazing, beautiful, talented, deliciously eccentric, funny, smart, passionate, irascible and loving., "Deaths in South Florida: 9/19," 19 Sep. 2019 Like many of the NBC executives in Burbank, Mr. Ludwin preferred the easygoing Leno to the irascible Letterman., "NEW YORK — Rick Ludwin, who oversaw late-night programming at NBC for many years but is probably best known for backing the sitcom “Seinfeld” when it seemed the network might drop it before the show started its storied run, died on Sunday at a hospital in Los Angeles. He was 71.," 14 Nov. 2019 That perspective weaves into a celebration of Kitson’s quirkily irascible persona, creating a two-hour monologue that’s part rant, part existential musing, part deconstruction of a 50-drawer, library-style card catalogue. Celia Wren, Washington Post, "Comedian Daniel Kitson rants about the joy — and tyranny — of stuff," 24 Nov. 2019 Familial conflict leads to romance for Adrian Pennino (Talia Shire) and Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) after Adrian’s irascible older brother, Paulie (Burt Young), tosses the turkey she’s been cooking for Thanksgiving out the back door. Cady Lang, Time, "The 15 Best Thanksgiving Movies to Watch This Holiday Season," 22 Nov. 2019

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

15 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Irascible.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for irascible


How to pronounce irascible (audio)

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on irascible

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for irascible

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with irascible

Spanish Central: Translation of irascible

Nglish: Translation of irascible for Spanish Speakers

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