Definition of irritant in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈɪrɪt(ə)nt/


1A substance that causes slight inflammation or other discomfort to the body: a powerful skin irritant
More example sentences
  • Some substances may not be irritants but if the skin becomes sensitised - or allergic - to them they may cause a reaction.
  • Inflammation makes the airways sensitive to stimuli such as allergens, chemical irritants, tobacco smoke, cold air, or exercise.
  • Moisture barriers, sometimes called skin protectants, shield the skin from exposure to irritants or moisture.
2A thing that is continually annoying or distracting: in 1966 Vietnam was becoming an irritant to the government
More example sentences
  • Still, these are mostly minor irritants that can easily be dismissed as necessary game requirements.
  • Another constant irritant for the judge was poor media reporting.
  • What should be a service to the community is seen as a major irritant.
annoyance, irritation, source of irritation, source of vexation, source of annoyance, thorn in someone's side/flesh, pinprick, pest, bother, trial, torment, plague, inconvenience, nuisance, menace
Scottish informal nyaff, skelf
North American informal pain in the butt, nudnik, burr in/under someone's saddle
Australian informal fair cow
Australian/New Zealand informal nark
British vulgar slang pain in the arse


Causing slight inflammation or other discomfort to the body: chlorine bleaches can be irritant to the skin
More example sentences
  • Their long, skinny bodies were covered with irritant hairs.
  • Ammonia is an irritant gas with a sharp odor, both as a natural and a manufactured chemical.
  • The welding process produces a complex mixture of irritant gases, coarse metal particulates, and fine metal oxide fume.



Pronunciation: /ˈɪrɪt(ə)nsi/
Example sentences
  • I think other fish-farmers regarded me with curiosity and some irritancy.
  • There was also a consistent exposure-time interaction for all three symptoms, suggesting a diminution in the potency of formaldehyde's irritancy during the weeks of the semester.
  • This is another test that measures irritancy by using pumpkin rind to simulate the effect of a test substance on human skin.
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