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 His agent at Excel Sports, Mark Steinberg, says the knee had been irritating him over the last few months. Doug Ferguson, courant.com, "Tiger Woods has surgery on left knee for minor cartilage damage," 27 Aug. 2019 Officials say tarantulas are mostly harmless to humans but have bites that can cause injury or allergic reaction and hairs that can be irritating to the eyes, mouth and nose. USA TODAY, "Smokey Bear, tarantula trek, censoring Adam and Eve: News from around our 50 states," 9 Aug. 2019 On the other hand, the thought of being the main breadwinner, providing his health insurance, and just working full time while my younger husband hangs out at the golf course or plays in his workshop, really irritates the heck out of me. Carolyn Hax, oregonlive, "Carolyn Hax: Jealous of husband’s early retirement - or is it something else?," 16 Sep. 2019 Perhaps the convention Westerners will find most difficult to adjust to is the way the dialogue is shouted with an explanation point, and Hodaka is especially irritating in his groaning gasps and hysterical demands. Deborah Young, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Weathering With You' ('Tenki no Ko'): Film Review | TIFF 2019," 14 Sep. 2019 And beaning them with a rock would irritate or hurt them. Mary Forgione, latimes.com, "It’s rattlesnake season: 12 things you need to know," 7 June 2019 The new drivers also fix some bugbears that’ve been irritating AMD users. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "AMD adds Radeon Image Sharpening to some Radeon RX 400- and 500-series graphics cards," 12 Sep. 2019 Swimmer's ear happens when constant exposure to cold water irritates tissues in the ear canal, causing bony growths to form. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Neanderthals suffered from a veritable epidemic of swimmer’s ear," 19 Aug. 2019 But when used repeatedly this can become a distraction and irritate audiences. Suresh Rangarajan, Quartz India, "It’s 2019 and Indian businesses need to retire these clichéd phrases," 31 July 2019

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 2019

Time Traveler for irritate

The first known use of irritate was in 1598

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More Definitions for irritate

irritate

verb
How to pronounce irritate (audio)

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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