irritate

Synonym Chooser

How is the word irritate different from other verbs like it?

Some common synonyms of irritate are exasperate, nettle, peeve, provoke, and rile. While all these words 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

When would exasperate be a good substitute for irritate?

The meanings of exasperate and irritate largely overlap; however, exasperate suggests galling annoyance and the arousing of extreme impatience.

his exasperating habit of putting off needed decisions

When is nettle a more appropriate choice than irritate?

The words nettle and irritate can be used in similar contexts, but nettle suggests a sharp but passing annoyance or stinging.

your pompous attitude nettled several people

When might peeve be a better fit than irritate?

While the synonyms peeve and irritate are close in meaning, peeve suggests arousing fretful often petty or querulous irritation.

a toddler peeved at being refused a cookie

When could provoke be used to replace irritate?

The words provoke and irritate are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, provoke implies an arousing of strong annoyance that may excite to action.

remarks made solely to provoke her

When can rile be used instead of irritate?

In some situations, the words rile and irritate are roughly equivalent. However, rile implies inducing an angry or resentful agitation.

the new work schedules riled the employees

Thesaurus Entries Near irritate

Cite this Entry

“Irritate.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/irritate. Accessed 1 Feb. 2023.

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