irritate

verb
ir·​ri·​tate | \ ˈir-ə-ˌtāt How to pronounce irritate (audio) \
irritated; irritating

Definition of irritate

transitive verb

1 : to provoke impatience, anger, or displeasure in : annoy
2 : to induce irritability in or of

intransitive verb

: to cause or induce displeasure or irritation

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Choose the Right Synonym for irritate

irritate, exasperate, nettle, provoke, rile, peeve mean to excite a feeling of anger or annoyance. irritate implies an often gradual arousing of angry feelings that may range from mere impatience to rage. constant nagging that irritated me greatly exasperate suggests galling annoyance and the arousing of extreme impatience. his exasperating habit of putting off needed decisions nettle suggests a sharp but passing annoyance or stinging. your pompous attitude nettled several people provoke implies an arousing of strong annoyance that may excite to action. remarks made solely to provoke her rile implies inducing an angry or resentful agitation. the new work schedules riled the employees peeve suggests arousing fretful often petty or querulous irritation. a toddler peeved at being refused a cookie

Examples of irritate in a Sentence

It's his arrogance that really irritates me. The other passengers were irritated by the child's rudeness. Harsh soaps can irritate the skin.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Chang says to avoid harsh scrubs and skincare products that can further irritate skin and to stop picking, popping, and squeezing acne as that will exacerbate inflammation. Audrey Noble, Harper's BAZAAR, "How To Get Rid of Acne Scars—Forever," 21 Jan. 2019 Many red tides emit chemicals that can irritate human respiratory systems and damage fish nervous systems. Maya Sweedler, WSJ, "Florida’s Red Tide Stings Tourist Industry," 15 Aug. 2018 His blind loyalty to his very dysfunctional family is irritating, but understandable. Puja Prakash, Vogue, "The Zaddies, Living and Dead, of Game of Thrones," 3 May 2019 Not to be outdone, other exhaust emissions — such as carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides — irritate your lungs. Sarah Bowman, Indianapolis Star, "The Indy 500 is actually super trashy," 21 May 2018 Some Wall Street analysts seemed irritated that Intel’s steady streak of successful quarters had stalled. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Intel CEO Swan says chip shortages will never happen again on his watch," 25 Apr. 2019 What is irritating about the movie is that it is presented as fact, even though that does not seem to be the case. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why the Abortion Movie Unplanned Is Factually Incorrect," 16 Apr. 2019 Trump's attitude is often as irritating to allied leaders as are his policies, according to numerous European officials, who consistently address such issues only on the condition of anonymity to avoid making the situation worse. Karen Deyoung, Anchorage Daily News, "In Trump, some see the end of the world order," 8 June 2018 This is an important takeaway and one that illuminates that not only does outlandishly uncivil actions (like vomiting) rightly irritate drivers to the point of giving passengers a low-star rating, so do the seemingly less obnoxious behaviors. Nicole Spector /, NBC News, "Is your Uber rating low? One of these bad behaviors may be to blame," 23 May 2018

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

1598, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for irritate

Latin irritatus, past participle of irritare

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Statistics for irritate

Last Updated

5 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for irritate

The first known use of irritate was in 1598

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More Definitions for irritate

irritate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of irritate

: to make (someone) impatient, angry, or annoyed
: to make (part of your body) sore or painful

irritate

verb
ir·​ri·​tate | \ ˈir-ə-ˌtāt How to pronounce irritate (audio) \
irritated; irritating

Kids Definition of irritate

1 : annoy His constant chatter irritates me.
2 : to make sensitive or sore The harsh soap irritated my skin.

irritate

verb
ir·​ri·​tate | \ ˈir-ə-ˌtāt How to pronounce irritate (audio) \
irritated; irritating

Medical Definition of irritate

transitive verb

1 : to provoke impatience, anger, or displeasure in
2 : to cause (an organ or tissue) to be irritable : produce irritation in harsh soaps may irritate the skin
3 : to produce excitation in (as a nerve) : cause (as a muscle) to contract

intransitive verb

: to induce irritation

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More from Merriam-Webster on irritate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with irritate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for irritate

Spanish Central: Translation of irritate

Nglish: Translation of irritate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of irritate for Arabic Speakers

Comments on irritate

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