ir·​ri·​ta·​bil·​i·​ty | \ˌir-ə-tə-ˈbi-lə-tē \
plural irritabilities

Definition of irritability 

1 : the property of protoplasm and of living organisms that permits them to react to stimuli

2 : the quality or state of being irritable: such as

a : quick excitability to annoyance, impatience, or anger : petulance

b : abnormal or excessive excitability of an organ or part of the body

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Examples of irritability in a Sentence

the librarian's well-known irritability makes students hesitant to ask questions

Recent Examples on the Web

But fasting comes with its own caveats: a higher risk of binge eating, low blood pressure, irritability and headaches. Mark Barna, Discover Magazine, "Not So Fast," 24 Sep. 2018 Common symptoms include fever, irritability, headache, stiff neck, sensitivity to light, sleepiness, nausea, vomiting and lack of appetite. Alexandria Hein, Fox News, "South Carolina student hospitalized with meningitis," 30 Aug. 2018 Studies with twins have shown us virtually every human trait — height, intelligence, irritability, personality, etc. — is, in part, heritable, meaning the differences seen between people can in part be traced back to differences in genetics. Brian Resnick, Vox, "How scientists are trying to predict your future with your genes," 23 Aug. 2018 Anxiety, depression, irritability, hunger, weight gain — all of those are symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, which are unpleasant. Rachel Becker, The Verge, "Is nicotine actually bad for you?," 10 Aug. 2018 This speeds up your metabolism (how your body uses energy), which can cause a host of symptoms like shorter periods, sudden weight loss, an irregular heartbeat, and irritability. Korin Miller, SELF, "How Long Does a Period Last, Normally?," 17 May 2018 The steroids Tifft was on for treatment caused extreme weight gain, irritability and had to be dealt with. John Smallwood,, "Matt Tifft fought through brain cancer to return to racing," 1 June 2018 Another reason is that studies like this continue to add to the knowledge base on hormone replacement, helping reduce the fear that many women have about using hormones to treat their hot flashes and irritability. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, "Hormone replacement may fight belly fat, study says," 27 Mar. 2018 Symptoms of jet lag also include irritability, disorientation, nausea, gastrointestinal distress and trouble concentrating. Emily Sohn, Washington Post, "Time-zone changes can leave people worried about jet lag," 7 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'irritability.' 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 irritability

1755, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

15 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for irritability

The first known use of irritability was in 1755

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More Definitions for irritability


ir·​ri·​ta·​bil·​i·​ty | \ˌir-ə-tə-ˈbi-lə-tē \

Kids Definition of irritability

: the quality of easily becoming angry or annoyed


ir·​ri·​ta·​bil·​i·​ty | \ˌir-ət-ə-ˈbil-ət-ē \
plural irritabilities

Medical Definition of irritability 

1 : the property of protoplasm and of living organisms that permits them to react to stimuli

2a : quick excitability to annoyance, impatience, or anger

b : abnormal or excessive excitability of an organ or part of the body (as the stomach or bladder)

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