\ 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 And throughout the game, the couple constantly snipes at each other, bringing up little things that irk them, small needles that have carved deep gashes. Cecilia D'anastasio, Wired, "It Takes Two Is One Hell of a Couples' Therapy Session," 1 Apr. 2021 Quipping about the status of a business that Volkswagen is positioning as more environmentally friendly also could irk investors, especially in light of the 2015 diesel emissions scandal the company has been trying to put behind it. Clare Duffy, CNN, "Volkswagen could end up in hot water over its 'Voltswagen' marketing stunt," 31 Mar. 2021 The simple answer is that ketchup was deliberately designed that way—not to irk people but because there are situations that require it. H. Joachim Schlichting, Scientific American, "Ketchup Is Not Just a Condiment: It Is Also a Non-Newtonian Fluid," 12 Mar. 2021 Sweeping changes will irk some people, but companies with a sustainability ethos such as Ocean Tees set about tackling plastic waste on courses in a very simple manner. Tom Pilcher, CNN, "How otters and beavers returned to one of the world's greatest golf courses," 5 Mar. 2021 Twitter’s actions appeared to irk Modi’s government, which over the years has sought to tighten its grip over social media, particularly Twitter and Facebook. NBC News, "India introduces new rules to regulate online content," 25 Feb. 2021 Dear Carolyn: My mostly wonderful boyfriend has a few habits that irk me, e.g. being late all the time. Washington Post, "Carolyn Hax: ‘Still friends’ comes with a ‘despite.’ Real friends don’t.," 31 Dec. 2020 The move, sure to irk conservatives who believe Big Tech is biased against right-leaning ideas, comes as the Trump administration has not yet recognized a winner in the 2020 election and therefore has not unlocked resources for a Biden transition. Mica Soellner, Washington Examiner, "Biden transition team adds several tech executives," 11 Nov. 2020 Morgan played the game with a brash style that could occasionally irk opponents. NBC News, "Joe Morgan, Cincinnati Reds second baseman and heart of 1970s 'Big Red Machine,' dies at 77," 12 Oct. 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

6 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Irk.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for irk



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

Nglish: Translation of irk for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of irk for Arabic Speakers

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