irritant

adjective
ir·​ri·​tant | \ ˈir-ə-tənt How to pronounce irritant (audio) \

Definition of irritant

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: causing irritation specifically : tending to produce physical irritation

irritant

noun

Definition of irritant (Entry 2 of 2)

: something that irritates or excites

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of irritant in a Sentence

Noun

dust and other lung irritants The delay was a minor irritant.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The most common triggers are pathogens (like the common cold and flu viruses), allergens (like pollen or cat dander), and irritants, which can be chemical (like perfume) or physical (like dust), Dr. Voigt says. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "Quick Question: Why Do We Sneeze?," 8 Mar. 2019 Ruling regimes require some kind of irritant, a grain of sand in the oyster, to reactivate their latent powers, to exercise their atrophied muscles, to make their pearls. Henry Farrell, Washington Post, "Trump is a typical conservative. That says a lot about the conservative tradition.," 1 Feb. 2018 Photo: George Downs/The Wall Street Journal BEIJING—Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, addressing an irritant in relations with the U.S., said that China’s government doesn’t ask companies to spy on its behalf and pledged not to do so in the future. Chun Han Wong, WSJ, "China Doesn’t and Won’t Instruct Companies to Spy, Premier Vows," 15 Mar. 2019 Economists say the time available for negotiations is too brief to resolve an array of irritants in U.S.-Chinese relations. Joe Mcdonald, The Seattle Times, "US, China resume trade talks in Washington ahead of deadline," 19 Feb. 2019 Studying the long-term effects of chemical irritants is a complicated task, as researchers would have to identify and follow the people who are affected for years and years. Korin Miller, SELF, "This Is Exactly How Tear Gas Affects Your Body," 26 Nov. 2018 European officials are less convinced, viewing the G-7 discord as more than a temporary irritant. Laurence Norman, WSJ, "Europe Considers Next Moves After Trump’s G-7 Brush-Off," 11 June 2018 While dealing with sensitive skin is often frustrating, there‘s solace in today‘s ever-growing market, which has never been better suited for showing skin TLC while steering clear of irritants. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "The Pro’s Guide to Managing Sensitive Skin This Winter," 27 Dec. 2018 Inside the freakishly cohesive culture of the company, they were considered an irritant. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Facebook is pushing out its most creative skeptics," 28 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'irritant.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of irritant

Adjective

1636, in the meaning defined above

Noun

1802, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about irritant

Statistics for irritant

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for irritant

The first known use of irritant was in 1636

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for irritant

irritant

noun

English Language Learners Definition of irritant

: something that makes part of your body sore and painful
: something that is unpleasant or annoying : something that irritates you

irritant

noun
ir·​ri·​tant | \ ˈir-ə-tənt How to pronounce irritant (audio) \

Kids Definition of irritant

1 : something that is annoying
2 : something that causes soreness or sensitivity

irritant

adjective
ir·​ri·​tant | \ ˈir-ə-tənt How to pronounce irritant (audio) \

Medical Definition of irritant

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: causing irritation specifically : tending to produce inflammation

irritant

noun

Medical Definition of irritant (Entry 2 of 2)

: something that irritates or excites specifically : an agent by which irritation is produced a chemical irritant

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on irritant

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for irritant

Spanish Central: Translation of irritant

Nglish: Translation of irritant for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of irritant for Arabic Speakers

Comments on irritant

What made you want to look up irritant? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to mark by some ceremony or observation

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!