\ˈərk \
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


Drivers were irked by the higher gasoline prices. It irks me to have to clean up after you.


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

But what also irked the rescue agency were the the pictures of Reggie in Bees’ backyard. Morgan Greene,, "Reggie the runaway cat, at the center of court custody battle, is back home in Logan Square," 28 June 2018 The proposal risks irking centrist Republicans who want to focus on other subjects. Stephanie Armour, WSJ, "Conservatives Make New Push to Repeal Affordable Care Act," 19 June 2018 What irks Jourova more is that eight EU countries still haven’t adapted their national laws to the new regime. Bloomberg, Fortune, "GDPR Architect Says She Hardly Got Any Data Privacy Emails," 6 June 2018 The fact that outside groups are going all in for Rosendale could irk the locals. Tara Golshan, Vox, "June 5 primary: live results for key races in California, New Jersey, South Dakota, New Mexico, Iowa, and Montana," 5 June 2018 Apparently this irked Robinho's club Real Madrid, and on transfer deadline day Manchester City pounced on a sudden opportunity to sign the star., "8 of Football's Greatest Transfer Heists," 4 June 2018 Get our daily newsletter Their role irks some British taxpayers, who subsidise the rail network to the tune of £4.2bn ($5.6bn) a year. The Economist, "Foreign firms are taking over Britain’s railways," 24 May 2018 The contrast irked many residents in this city just across the border from San Diego. Rafael Carranza, azcentral, "Mexicans question government's role to make Trump's border visit happen," 14 Mar. 2018 Advocates were particularly irked by the focus on supports coordinators. Harold Brubaker,, "Pa. report says structural problems in oversight led to Blossom Philadelphia failure," 27 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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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Learn More about irk

Dictionary Entries near irk


iris whitefly






Statistics for irk

Last Updated

3 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for irk

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

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More Definitions for irk



English Language Learners Definition of irk

: to bother or annoy (someone)


\ˈərk \
irked; irking

Kids Definition of irk

: annoy That noise irks me.

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Comments on irk

What made you want to look up irk? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not any or not one

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