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 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 Certain hypoallergenic formulas go the extra mile and leave out oils as well, which are known to irritate those with acne-prone skin. Sian Babish, chicagotribune.com, "The best hypoallergenic skin cleanser," 12 Aug. 2020 The Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency later ordered residents to stay inside to avoid the falling ash, which can irritate eyes and lungs, reports Dharna Noor for Gizmodo. Rasha Aridi, Smithsonian Magazine, "Hawai’i’s Kīlauea Volcano Returns Dramatically With First Eruption in Two Years," 24 Dec. 2020 President-elect Joe Biden’s foreign policy team is taking a conventional shape, one that might irritate some progressives and likewise reassure Republican analysts. Joel Gehrke, Washington Examiner, "Biden’s foreign policy team the 'return of the Washington establishment'," 24 Nov. 2020 Silk pillowcases have gotten a lot of hype recently for their ability to reduce frizz in hair and not irritate the skin. Courtney Campbell, USA TODAY, "25 perfect gifts that look more expensive than they actually are," 3 Dec. 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

20 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Irritate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/irritate. Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

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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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