1Having or showing a tendency to be easily annoyed: she was tired and irritable
More example sentences
- She seemed irritable, and annoyed with my every move.
- The wait would grate so terribly on my nerves that I could easily be irritable for days afterwards, but that particular drive was different.
- Will asked, starting to get annoyed, the pain in his head making him more irritable.
bad-tempered, irascible, tetchy, testy, touchy, scratchy, grumpy, grouchy, moody, crotchety, in a (bad) mood, cantankerous, curmudgeonly, ill-tempered, ill-natured, ill-humoured, peevish, having got out of bed the wrong side, cross, as cross as two sticks, fractious, disagreeable, pettish, crabbed, crabby, waspish, prickly, peppery, crusty, splenetic, shrewish, short-tempered, hot-tempered, quick-tempered, dyspeptic, choleric, bilious, liverish, cross-grained
informal snappish, snappy, chippy, on a short fuse, short-fused
British informal shirty, stroppy, narky, ratty, eggy, like a bear with a sore head
North American informal cranky, ornery, peckish, soreheaded
Australian/New Zealand informal snaky
informal, dated waxy, miffy
2 Medicine (Of a body part) abnormally sensitive.
- 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.
- To be a receiver rather than just an irritable organism is to be disposed to respond reliably and differentially to the perceivable environment.
- 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).
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