irritate

verb
ir·​ri·​tate | \ ˈir-ə-ˌtāt \
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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Coughing so often may make your throat irritated and sore. Amy Marturana, SELF, "8 Bronchitis Symptoms Everyone Should Know," 28 Dec. 2018 After a dozen phone calls with Mr. Xi, an exchange of letters and several face-to-face meetings, the tepid response from China has irritated the president, one senior administration official described, like death from a thousand cuts. Jeremy Page, WSJ, "U.S. Edges Toward New Cold-War Era With China," 13 Oct. 2018 But the popularity of items associated with President Trump has been irritating many members of the media, Poynter.org, the website for a media think tank, reported. Amy Lieu, Fox News, "MAGA hats, 'Fake News' shirts are hot sellers at Newseum, irritating reporters," 4 Aug. 2018 But Giuliani's talkative and freewheeling style has irritated many White House officials, who say his frequent pronouncements are unhelpful and have often put the president in difficult positions. chicagotribune.com, "Giuliani works for foreign clients while serving as Trump's attorney," 10 July 2018 But some find that quality irksome, and Mr. Merkley’s border attention grab has clearly irritated at least one Republican. New York Times, "Senator Jeff Merkley, a Quiet Stalwart of the Left, Has a Breakout Moment at the Border," 22 June 2018 Love them, hate them or envy them, the Warriors’ supreme skill this year was being irritating. Ben Golliver, SI.com, "Warriors' Greatness May Annoy Some but They Aren't Going Anywhere," 9 June 2018 Trump’s withdrawal from a nuclear deal with Iran has irritated Europe, which views the agreement as an effective way to control Tehran’s military ambitions. Andrew Mayeda, Bloomberg.com, "It’s Trump Against the Developed World as G-7 Frays Over Tariffs," 7 June 2018 In practice Trump’s trade dispute with China has already irritated a key Republican constituency: farmers. Margaret Hartmann, Daily Intelligencer, "Why Trump Is Suddenly Worried About Saving Jobs in China: 6 Theories," 15 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about irritate

Statistics for irritate

Last Updated

2 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for irritate

The first known use of irritate was in 1598

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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 \
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 \
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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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

WORD OF THE DAY

important, real, or meaningful

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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!