1 of 2


irked; irking; irks

transitive verb

: to make weary, irritated, or bored


2 of 2


: the fact of being annoying
: 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
While the cacophony of kids running amok might irk some who want to serenely sip their suds, a handful of Orange County breweries, known for their family-friendly environment as much as their award-winning craft beer, welcome the patter of little feet. Brock Keeling, Orange County Register, 8 May 2024 By Sean Gregory May 2, 2024 1:54 PM EDT Perhaps the ad, which has run on an endless loop since the start of March Madness, just irks you. Sean Gregory, TIME, 2 May 2024 His opposition irked Redstone, who also had questioned some of Bakish’s business decisions, including not selling cable network Showtime, according to people familiar with the situation. Samantha Masunaga, Los Angeles Times, 2 May 2024 Odle said he was irked that the other intersections along State Road 37, where large car dealerships and a Walmart are located, were finished promptly but 141st Street, with a string of mom-and-pop businesses, had to wait. John Tuohy, The Indianapolis Star, 24 Apr. 2024 Vergennes has seen it all, and when Franklin settles with the British in a duplicitous last diplomatic pirouette, he is irked but not unduly. Roger Cohen, New York Times, 18 Apr. 2024 But the compromise received a lackluster reception, especially in the House where lawmakers were particularly irked that the final product was so significantly different from the dual-rate income tax plan that passed the House unanimously last week. Jonathan Shorman, Kansas City Star, 5 Apr. 2024 On one hand, some residents complain that the celebrity couple want to create a large lake for recreational open-water swimming and have been irked by the noise and mess caused by the excavation work. Martha Ross, The Mercury News, 1 Apr. 2024 The fact that the A’s are moving to Sacramento, of all cities, especially irked some fans. Joseph Dycus, The Mercury News, 4 Apr. 2024
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

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'irk.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Middle English

First Known Use


15th century, in the meaning defined above


circa 1570, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near irk

Cite this Entry

“Irk.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


: to make weary, irritated, or bored : annoy

More from Merriam-Webster on irk

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