from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To cause (someone) to feel impatient or angry; annoy: synonym: annoy.
  • intransitive verb To make sore or inflamed.
  • intransitive verb Physiology To cause a physiological response to a stimulus in (a cell, body tissue, or organism).
  • intransitive verb To be a cause of impatience or anger.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To render null and void.
  • Excited; exasperated; intensified.
  • To excite to resentment or anger; annoy; vex; exasperate: as, to be irritated by an officious or a tedious person.
  • To excite to automatic action by external agency, as organic tissue; produce motion, contraction, or inflammation in by stimulation: as, to irritate the skin by chafing or the nerves by teasing.
  • To give greater force or energy to; excite.
  • Synonyms Provoke, Incense, etc. (see exasperate); fret, chafe, nettle, sting, annoy, gall, inflame, excite, anger, enrage.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb rare To render null and void.
  • transitive verb To increase the action or violence of; to heighten excitement in; to intensify; to stimulate.
  • transitive verb To excite anger or displeasure in; to provoke; to tease; to exasperate; to annoy; to vex.
  • transitive verb (Physiol.) To produce irritation in; to stimulate; to cause to contract. See Irritation, n., 2.
  • transitive verb (Med.) To make morbidly excitable, or oversensitive; to fret
  • adjective obsolete Excited; heightened.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb transitive To provoke impatience, anger, or displeasure.
  • verb transitive To introduce irritability.
  • verb intransitive To cause or induce displeasure or irritation.
  • verb transitive To induce pain in (all or part of a body or organism).

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb excite to some characteristic action or condition, such as motion, contraction, or nervous impulse, by the application of a stimulus
  • verb excite to an abnormal condition, or chafe or inflame
  • verb cause annoyance in; disturb, especially by minor irritations


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Latin irrītāre, irrītāt-.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin irritatus, past participle of irritare ("to excite, irritate, incite, stimulate")


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word irritate.


  • Tony swung back to him, his expression irritate "What are you talking about?"

    Laura's Baby Winters, Rebecca 1997

  • (even by the fact that the word irritate has too many double letters in it).

    [Help] Most Recent Posts jeanmfernande 2010

  • And even though it's not a rule that you HAVE to tip it does kind of irritate me sometimes that you're expected to tip AND pay the 5% surcharge.

    I'm so clueless! - SpouseBUZZ 2008

  • From the Guttmacher Institute on IUDs intrauterine devices--they're put in the uterine lining to "irritate" it to prevent implantation of an embryo:

    A First Pregnancy May Be Difficult to Achieve After Long-Term Use of an IUD GreenFertility 2007

  • From the Guttmacher Institute on IUDs intrauterine devices--they're put in the uterine lining to "irritate" it to prevent implantation of an embryo:

    Archive 2007-08-01 GreenFertility 2007

  • Yes, yes, the pirate wants to "irritate" the politicians.

    Marcos Craps His Pants! Alleged Sandy Wells Attacker Arrested 2006

  • Things would kind of irritate -- you know, things would, you know -- I would be able to ignore a lot of things that bothered me.

    CNN Transcript May 25, 2005 2005

  • Maybe "irritate" was actually "seizure" in Korea -- but seizures still don't make you drop dead though they can kill, it's a bit more complicated and you can generally survive until reaching a hospital.

    A Diagnosis For Online Gaming Syndrome 2005

  • IFP general-secretary at the time, Oscar Dhlomo, who said on state television Gasa's remarks to the press would "irritate" Inkatha.

    ANC Daily News Briefing 1996

  • "Jest kind of irritate one another, eh?" said Scattergood, thoughtfully.

    Scattergood Baines Clarence Budington Kelland 1922


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • IrRitatE

    May 11, 2008