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

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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

Coal dust particles enter the lungs, irritating the delicate lung tissue and eventually forming massive impenetrable fibrous tissue that significantly restricts the lung's functions and causes scarring, which can lead to lung failure and death. Beth Warren, The Courier-Journal, "Kentucky coal mine officials charged with cheating on key safety tests," 11 July 2018 Otherwise the centres would become magnets for fresh migrants from across Africa—irritating the countries that must be persuaded to host them. The Economist, "Europe is moving towards the tough immigration policies of Sebastian Kurz," 5 July 2018 The creatures’ long white hairs can irritate eyes and skin and cause sometimes deadly allergic reactions. Tanya Lewis, Scientific American, "In Case You Missed It," 13 July 2018 These can irritate the skin and compromise its healthy oil levels. Adam Hurly, GQ, "How to Fix Your Dehydrated Skin," 3 July 2018 But the rash caused by the larvae is usually just irritating. National Geographic, "What's Giving Some Beachgoers Rashes? Get the Facts.," 28 June 2018 Big-city detective Richard Willis (Chris Messina), who has arrived in town to work the case, butts heads with Camille, who in turn has been irritating the local police chief, Vickery (Matt Craven). Lorraine Ali, latimes.com, "Review: 'Sharp Objects' pierces slowly but cuts deeply, and Amy Adams is phenomenal," 6 July 2018 Natural bug sprays, such as Mrs. White’s Unstung Hero, feature ingredients like lemon and citronella that irritate mosquitos that come in contact with them, causing the bugs to leave before if not during a bite. Mackenzie Wagoner, Vogue, "Here’s Why You Are a Mosquito Magnet," 5 July 2018 At the 2014 World Cup, some reporters did find vantage points in Rio de Janeiro to watch private training sessions, which irritated the then-England coaching staff, including Gary Neville. Rob Harris, Fox News, "After lineup photographed, England urges media to help team," 22 June 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

25 Sep 2018

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 \
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

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Comments on irritate

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