Definition of irritable in English:


Line breaks: ir¦rit|able
Pronunciation: /ˈɪrɪtəb(ə)l


  • 2 Medicine (Of a body part) abnormally sensitive.
    More example sentences
    • I still have irritable bowels though and sometimes the pain keeps me up at night.
    • Because their skin is inherently irritable, patients with atopic diseases may not tolerate topical retinoids, even if they apply a moisturiser.
    • The drugs that treat asthma either relax the bronchial spasm, or reduce the inflammation that makes the bronchial tubes swollen and irritable to minor irritants.
  • 2.1(Of a condition) caused an abnormally sensitive body part: the seeds have been reputed to help conditions such as irritable bladder
    More example sentences
    • General primary care nurses were trained to deliver cognitive behaviour therapy to patients with irritable bowel syndrome
    • But acupuncture works well for certain kinds of conditions and irritable bladder syndrome is one of them.
    • It has been shown to sooth irritable coughs and other respiratory problems.
  • 2.2 Biology (Of a living organism) having the property of responding actively to physical stimuli.
    More example sentences
    • To be a receiver rather than just an irritable organism is to be disposed to respond reliably and differentially to the perceivable environment.



More example sentences
  • For the next month male deer will be irritably scratching and shaking their heads until their majestic antlers fall off.
  • He looked down irritably at the mess, then defiantly at me, and walked on, passing a litter bin without so much as a glance.
  • There are no insufferable people socializing irritably around their outdoor dining tables.


mid 17th century: from Latin irritabilis, from the verb irritare (see irritate).

More definitions of irritable

Definition of irritable in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day maelstrom
Pronunciation: ˈmeɪlstrəm
a powerful whirlpool in the sea