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 And just like their canine counterparts, pool chemicals can irritate their skin and shouldn't be ingested. Southern Living, "7 Ways to Keep Your Pet Safer by the Water This Season," 18 Feb. 2021 Poinsettias can irritate the mouth and stomach and may cause mild vomiting or nausea. Iris Katz, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Pet Wise: Keeping pets and guests safe during unusual holiday season," 19 Dec. 2020 As a result, most eye creams irritate my already fragile eye region. Zoe Ruffner, Vogue, "The 17 Best Beauty Products of 2020, According to Fashion’s Top Hairstylists, Makeup Artists, and More," 7 Dec. 2020 Although a hot tub, heating pad or ice pack may sound wonderful, this kind of exposure can further irritate your treated skin. Dr. Eric Rudnick, sun-sentinel.com, "Untold side effects of radiation therapy | Opinion," 12 Nov. 2020 Officers learned the woman was not at the home and had called from a different in city in an effort to irritate her brother. cleveland, "Woman falsely accuses brother of farting on toothbrush: Highland Heights Police Blotter," 23 Dec. 2020 That brings up an important point: To avoid trapping germs that might irritate your face or reduce the mask's effectiveness, reusable masks should be washed daily with soap and hot water. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, "Choosing the best mask to protect you and others, according to new CDC guidelines," 11 Nov. 2020 But before long, aspects of his lifestyle began to irritate the locals. Kate Kelly, New York Times, "The Short Tenure and Abrupt Ouster of Banking’s Sole Black C.E.O.," 3 Oct. 2020 Philosophers of science tend to irritate practicing scientists, to whom science already makes complete sense. Joshua Rothman, The New Yorker, "How Does Science Really Work?," 28 Sep. 2020

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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Learn More about irritate

Time Traveler for irritate

Time Traveler

The first known use of irritate was in 1598

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Statistics for irritate

Last Updated

25 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Irritate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/irritate. Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

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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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Comments on irritate

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