1 of 2


irked; irking; irks

transitive verb

: to make weary, irritated, or bored


2 of 2


: the fact of being annoying
: a source of annoyance
Choose the Right Synonym for irk

annoy, vex, irk, bother mean to upset a person's composure.

annoy implies a wearing on the nerves by persistent petty unpleasantness.

their constant complaining annoys us

vex implies greater provocation and stronger disturbance and usually connotes anger but sometimes perplexity or anxiety.

vexed by her son's failure to clean his room

irk stresses difficulty in enduring and the resulting weariness or impatience of spirit.

careless waste irks the boss

bother suggests interference with comfort or peace of mind.

don't bother me while I'm reading

Examples of irk in a Sentence

Verb Drivers were irked by the higher gasoline prices. It irks me to have to clean up after you. Noun one of the prof's major irks is a cell phone that rings during a lecture
Recent Examples on the Web
Salazar noted that Harrison also suggested that party leaders always knew the 2024 presidential contest would be close, a regular Democratic talking point that irks Salazar. Prarthana Prakash, Fortune, 30 June 2024 Maneesh Goyal bar and restaurant owner There are certain things that will irk the host. George Gurley, New York Times, 21 June 2024
The violence gets worse from there, and somehow all that is supposed to fit into a show about a Washington socialite whose biggest irk in the premiere is her rivalry with the first lady. Washington Post, 22 Apr. 2022 The Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson varieties seem to sit somewhere in the middle of the spectrum of immunological irk. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 1 Dec. 2021 See all Example Sentences for irk 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'irk.' 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 English

First Known Use


15th century, in the meaning defined above


circa 1570, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of irk was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near irk

Cite this Entry

“Irk.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


: to make weary, irritated, or bored : annoy

More from Merriam-Webster on irk

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