\ 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 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 While Italian ministers are trying to tailor the plan to encourage people to make small payments digitally as well as larger amounts, the fees charged by credit-card providers irk some retailers. Craig Stirling,, "Italy’s Love of Cash Is Tested by Conte’s Tax Capture Trick," 7 Oct. 2020 The aggressive new tactic by the IRS is likely to irk many in the cryptocurrency industry given that current tax rules consider any sale or purchase involving crypto—such as buying a cup of coffee with Bitcoin—to be a taxable event. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "The IRS is adding a cryptocurrency question to form 1040 for 2020," 28 Sep. 2020 The rushed process not only poses a threat to Russians but could lead to even more political grandstanding -- and may irk President Donald Trump, who only last week suggested that a US vaccine could be ready as soon as election day in November. Tara John, CNN, "What you need to know about coronavirus on Wednesday, August 12," 12 Aug. 2020 In a tweak that will likely irk Michigan State fans, Michigan's in-state rival will drive to Ann Arbor for a second straight season. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press, "Three key takeaways on Michigan football's revamped 2020 schedule," 5 Aug. 2020 These gloomy forecasts alone would have been enough to irk Trump. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, "Economic Reality Bites Wall Street and Trump," 12 June 2020 His prediction, made in an interview earlier this week, apparently irked American Airlines CEO Doug Parker, who called Calhoun to complain. David Meyer, Fortune, "The most admired Fortune 500 CEO is…," 15 May 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

19 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Irk.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for irk


How to pronounce irk (audio)

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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