Definition of irritate in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈirəˌtāt/


[with object]
1Make (someone) annoyed, impatient, or angry: his tone irritated her [no object]: his voice tends to irritate
More example sentences
  • Later that evening, Jenny remarked that she was irritated with Sara.
  • Ryan asked, but Meg could tell he wasn't irritated; his tone was teasingly amiable.
  • The situation was made worse when Jason made a remark that had irritated her.
annoy, vex, make angry, make cross, anger, exasperate, irk, gall, pique, nettle, put out, antagonize, get on someone's nerves, try someone's patience, ruffle someone's feathers, make someone's hackles rise;
infuriate, madden, provoke, pester, rub the wrong way
informal aggravate, hassle, miff, rile, needle, get to, bug, get in someone's hair, get under someone's skin, get someone's dander up, rattle someone's cage, get/put someone's back up, drive mad/crazy, drive someone around the bend, drive up the wall, drive bananas, tee off, tick off, burn up, rankle, ride
annoyed, cross, angry, vexed, exasperated, irked, piqued, nettled, put out, fed up, disgruntled, in a bad mood, in a temper, testy, in a huff, huffy, aggrieved;
irate, infuriated, incensed
informal aggravated, peeved, miffed, mad, riled, hot under the collar, teed off, ticked off, PO'd, sore
archaic wroth
1.1Cause inflammation or other discomfort in (a part of the body).
Example sentences
  • The top of the femoral canal may be reinforced by a mesh made of a synthetic material that does not irritate the body.
  • Without the protection of the eyelid, the inside of the eyelid and the surface of your eye may become dry, irritated and inflamed.
  • Every single square inch of your body is irritated.
inflame, aggravate;
pain, hurt;
chafe, abrade, scratch, rasp
rare excoriate
1.2 Biology Stimulate (an organism, cell, or organ) to produce an active response.
Example sentences
  • The implanted electrodes may irritate the snake to such an extent that it may never reach basal condition.



Pronunciation: /ˈirəˌtādiv/
Example sentences
  • Irritated eyes: as the name suggests, it implies dry eyes, burning eyes, light sensitivity, eyestrain are the most pesky and irritative symptoms that trouble the computer user.
  • In our recent studies, we found that exposure to petrochemical air pollution is associated with increased rates of acute irritative symptoms in adults.
  • Other presentations include irritative voiding, discharge of mucous blood or pus from the umbilicus, and obstructive symptoms.


Pronunciation: /-ˌtātər/
Example sentences
  • The Kings and the Lakers got involved in a scuffle following the actions of two of the biggest irritators.
  • I bombed into French in a perky mood; not even Eric (the class irritator) could being me down that day.


Mid 16th century (in the sense 'excite, provoke'): from Latin irritat- 'irritated', from the verb irritare.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ir·ri·tate

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