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

Her entire body looked like it was covered in hives, with the skin especially irritated on the insides of her elbows, the backs of her knees, and her baby toes. Alexandra Macon, Vogue, "32 Million Americans Suffer From This Skin Condition—Is Your Baby One of Them?," 9 July 2018 And vehicles can be slow—about 25 mph (40 kph) for Nuro, even slower for Starship and Marble—without irritating anyone inside the vehicle, which greatly simplifies the technical challenges of building a fully autonomous vehicle. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Forget deliveries—this firm wants to bring a grocery store to your driveway," 27 June 2018 Well, people do that all the time, especially those of us who are irritating pop music know-it-alls and who burn CDs for our friends and kids and friends’ kids that more often than not end up serving as coasters. Ty Burr, BostonGlobe.com, "Every playlist tells a story," 14 June 2018 The Washington Post The Washington Post/Getty Images What’s the best way to celebrate Pride Month while irritating President Trump at the same time? Natasha Bach, Fortune, "'Take That, Trump': Maryland Governor Candidate Gives Same-Sex Kiss in a Campaign Ad First," 8 June 2018 Since those ingredients can be drying and irritating, Glamglow added licorice root and apple to smooth and soothe the skin. Shannon Barbour, The Cut, "Here’s a New Face Mask for Your Instagram," 1 June 2018 Like a number of acne remedies (and essential oils), tea tree oil is irritating. Ashley Weatherford, The Cut, "A Guide to Megan Markle’s Favorite Anti-Acne Oil," 13 July 2018 Here in Miami, our water has high levels of chlorine that can irritate some people. Dr. Leslie Baumann, miamiherald, "How to use a skin cleanser and see results," 3 July 2018 Traffic is irritating, and sometimes people hunt illegally in the suburbs or near the airport. Rachel Jones, charlotteobserver, "He's Mecklenburg's only wildlife officer in a county with over 1 million people," 28 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

6 Nov 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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