\ 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

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: Verb Caped Crusaders, and the villains who irk them, fill screens every year. WIRED, 18 Sep. 2022 The program was reinstated, as an extracurricular activity, in 1972, but the situation continued to irk Alito. Margaret Talbot, The New Yorker, 28 Aug. 2022 The donations irk some Democrats, who say the money won’t make a difference in Cheney’s race and would be better spent helping Democrats in tight contests as the party struggles to hold control of Congress. Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times, 29 July 2022 Such commendations, however, could irk those in the pro-Trump wing of the GOP -- who already may be skeptical of Pence -- at the same time that the former vice president has not downplayed future political aspirations. ABC News, 21 June 2022 Reels has proven wildly unpopular and even managed to irk a Kardashian or two. Wired, 1 Aug. 2022 Over the past year, producers behind some of the hottest US blockbusters have kept in scenes that could irk China's censors, apparently less concerned about the potential loss of access to theaters across the country of 1.4 billion people. Michelle Toh, CNN, 8 July 2022 The proposal under consideration would waive debt of $10,000 per borrower, an amount that is certain to irk progressives for not going far enough and opponents for potentially exacerbating inflation. Courtney Subramanianstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 1 July 2022 But the approach the IWA—which has not returned our request for comment—has taken seems to really irk him. Jonah Flicker, Robb Report, 15 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 From that slight irk, a fuse is now irrevocably lit. Hank Stuever, Washington Post, 13 June 2019 But under the direction of Susannah Martin, those devices more irk than stoke fear. Lily Janiak,, 25 June 2018 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

21 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Irk.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for irk


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

Kids Definition of irk

: annoy That noise irks me.

More from Merriam-Webster on irk

Nglish: Translation of irk for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of irk for Arabic Speakers


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