\ 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


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

What irks me is how some folks apply this principle selectively. Nic Garcia, The Denver Post, "The Spot: What the heck does “local control” even mean?," 6 June 2019 Some Bassnectar fans were later irked when the schedule revealed the rap acts were stacked on Friday, with new ticket options for Friday-only and two-night, Saturday-Sunday passes becoming available. Michael Rietmulder, The Seattle Times, "End of the Rainbow, Sasquatch replacement festival, ‘postponed indefinitely’," 25 Mar. 2019 Bill Tai, a board member of Bitfury, says this irks some people in the crypto-community. The Economist, "How a few companies are bitcoining it," 19 May 2018 His campaign against perceived corruption in Jefferson City irked many lawmakers. Fox News, "Missouri Gov. Greitens banks on public backing in not resigning," 18 Apr. 2018 Fans are clamouring to see the 25-year-old get back to his best, but some of those fans are irked to see the attitude on display from the player during a testing time., "PHOTO: Paul Pogba Risks Angering 'Yer Da' Fans Up and Down the Country With Colourful New Hairstyle," 20 Mar. 2018 And theoretically, China is more vulnerable because of the $375 billion trade imbalance that has long irked Trump. Paul Davidson, USA TODAY, "Trade wars are damaging, so why is Trump fighting one with China?," 13 July 2018 This time, to prevent the accessibility problems that irked some viewers and to expand its reach, the event will be live-streamed on,, and, in addition to Bloomberg’s own website. Robert Steiner,, "Rachel Platten, Rhiannon Giddens, Indigo Girls will help Pops celebrate Fourth of July," 30 May 2018 Indeed, leaked emails published by WikiLeaks in 2016 showed her privately connecting Saudi Arabia to funding for the Islamic State, a charge that has long irked Riyadh. Adam Taylor, Washington Post, "Saudis and Emiratis face the pitfalls of courting Trump," 23 May 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

13 Jun 2019

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 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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with irk

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for irk

Spanish Central: Translation of irk

Nglish: Translation of irk for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of irk for Arabic Speakers

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).


a tendency to relapse

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