\ ˈərk How to pronounce irk (audio) \
irked; irking; irks

Definition of irk

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

: to make weary, irritated, or bored



Definition of irk (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the fact of being annoying
2 : a source of annoyance

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb While leaders of states that are home to BMW, Volkswagen and Daimler AG back such plans, the program has irked other lawmakers and drew a muted response from chancellor Angela Merkel. Oliver Sachgau,, "BMW’s $1.8 Billion Dividend Draws Scrutiny With Workers in Limbo," 13 May 2020 The crazy lines, incidentally, have irked the Coop’s neighbors, who decry the potential Covid-19 carriers loitering outside their windows. Anne Quito, Quartz, "Brooklyn’s legendary food co-op shows how community organizations can thrive in a pandemic," 15 Apr. 2020 The two bigwigs have even irked their networks with high commissions touching up to 30%. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz India, "A few biggies’ failure hasn’t ended the clamour for Indian food-tech. Ask Amazon," 5 Mar. 2020 India has also irked Washington by buying most of its military hardware from Russia. NBC News, "Trump heaps praise on India's Modi in packed stadium," 24 Feb. 2020 Bloomberg's efforts to tie himself to Obama has irked one rival in particular: Obama's once-No. 2, former Vice President Joe Biden. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, "No, Obama has not endorsed Bloomberg," 19 Feb. 2020 The 57-year-old novelist, known for her humanist themes and playful, subversive streak, has often irked Poland's populists and conservatives. Anchorage Daily News, "2 Nobel literature prize winners expose Europe’s fault lines," 10 Oct. 2019 For years, Carter has irked the foreign policy establishment with forthright criticism of Israel and its treatment of Palestinians. Bill Barrow, The Seattle Times, "Jimmy Carter finds a renaissance in 2020 Democratic scramble," 20 May 2019 What really irks the U.N., though, are Israeli efforts at economic cooperation. David Harsanyi, National Review, "The United Nations Once Again Proves Its Anti-Semitism," 13 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun From that slight irk, a fuse is now irrevocably lit. Hank Stuever, Washington Post, "‘The Loudest Voice’ really sticks it to Roger Ailes, who is still dead and doesn’t care what anyone thinks," 13 June 2019 But under the direction of Susannah Martin, those devices more irk than stoke fear. Lily Janiak,, "Hitler-themed ‘In Braunau’ at SF Playhouse tortures characters and audience," 25 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'irk.' 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 irk


15th century, in the meaning defined above


circa 1570, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for irk


Middle English

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Time Traveler for irk

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for irk

Last Updated

29 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Irk.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for irk


How to pronounce irk (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of irk

: to bother or annoy (someone)


\ ˈərk How to pronounce irk (audio) \
irked; irking

Kids Definition of irk

: annoy That noise irks me.

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More from Merriam-Webster on irk

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for irk

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with irk

Spanish Central: Translation of irk

Nglish: Translation of irk for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of irk for Arabic Speakers

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