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

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 But so do Pemberton and Campbell, which irritates Amy. Jessica Radloff, Glamour, "The Big Bang Theory," 5 Apr. 2019 These kinds of products can easily irritate the delicate skin of your vulva, Jessica Shepherd, M.D., a minimally invasive gynecologic surgeon at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas, tells SELF. Korin Miller, SELF, "What to Do if You’re Extremely Sweaty in the General Vicinity of Your Vagina," 3 Apr. 2019 Secondary drowning occurs when a small amount of water is inhaled, which irritates the lungs and causes inflammation and swelling over time. Lindsey Murray, Good Housekeeping, "What Every Parent Needs to Know About "Dry Drowning"," 27 Mar. 2019 Jow recommends avoiding any products that might further irritate the thin eyebrow skin, such as retinoids and retinols. Audrey Noble, Harper's BAZAAR, "What is Eyebrow Tinting, Anyway?," 1 Feb. 2019 This set is made of a breathable polyester blend that won’t irritate skin. Ashley Mateo, WSJ, "Why Boxing Is the Best Workout of 2019," 16 Jan. 2019 Avoid wearing any complicated underwear that will further irritate ingrown hairs on your bikini line. Loni Venti, Teen Vogue, "How To Get Rid of Ingrown Hair: 9 Tips to Heal Your Skin," 5 Oct. 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

24 Apr 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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