\ 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

Beyond the symbolism, the coalition’s policy program—a draft of which was leaked to Huffington Post Italy—seems designed to irk E.U. orthodoxy at every turn. Time, "Italy's Swing to the Populist Fringe Is Profoundly Symbolic and Deeply Disturbing for the E.U.," 23 May 2018 Instead, the antics appeared to irk Perez, who could have been exposed to serious injury if his glove hand was in the way. Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers 3 observations: Jose Iglesias still doesn't get it; more," 7 May 2018 Scott's trade mission to Louisiana appears to have irked Edwards, in part because of Scott's close ties to Jindal. Julia O'donoghue,, "Florida governor tries to lure jobs away from Louisiana," 16 Jan. 2018 For most of last year, Deutsche Bank’s then-CEO, John Cryan, refused to meet with HNA, irking Deutsche Bank Chairman Paul Achleitner, who had courted the Chinese investor. Stella Yifan Xie, WSJ, "HNA, Under Pressure From Beijing, to Sell Its Overseas Empire," 7 Sep. 2018 Skip Ad in 15 In late November, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg didn't turn up to a U.K. parliamentary committee inquiry into fake news and disinformation, irking lawmakers. Kirsten Grind, WSJ, "Facebook’s Zuckerberg at Center of Emails Released by U.K. Parliament," 5 Dec. 2018 In response, Trump pointed to the presence of nearly 30,000 US troops in South Korea, something that has long irked not only North Korea, but also its biggest backer: China. Jamie Tarabay, CNN, "Kim had a great summit. And he didn't even need to give anything away," 12 June 2018 Due to procedural reasons, the draft law won’t be debated further at this week’s parliamentary session, which has irked the church., "Catholic Church Wades Into Poland’s Debate on Banning Abortion," 21 Mar. 2018 Sometimes, his antics irk his coach, Nate McMillan. Clifton Brown, Indianapolis Star, "Stephenson excites at home, but can he ignite Pacers during five-game trip?," 13 Jan. 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

10 Jan 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 \
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 complex dispute or argument

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