Definition of irritate in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈɪrɪteɪt/


[with object]
1Make (someone) annoyed or a little angry: his tone irritated her
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, bother, irk, gall, pique, put out, displease, get/put someone's back up, antagonize, get on someone's nerves, rub up the wrong way, try someone's patience, ruffle, ruffle someone's feathers, make someone's hackles rise, raise someone's hackles;
enrage, infuriate, madden, incense, make someone's blood boil, drive to distraction, goad, provoke
informal aggravate, peeve, hassle, miff, rile, nettle, needle, get, get to, bug, hack off, get under someone's skin, get in someone's hair, get up someone's nose, put someone's nose out of joint, get someone's goat, give someone the hump, rattle someone's cage, get someone's dander up, drive mad/crazy, drive round the bend/twist, drive up the wall, drive bananas, make someone see red
British informal wind up, nark, get across, get on someone's wick
North American informal tee off, tick off, burn up, rankle, ride, gravel, bum out
British informal get on someone's tits
New Zealand informal rark
informal, dated give someone the pip
vulgar slang piss off
rare exacerbate, hump, rasp
annoyed, cross, angry, vexed, exasperated, irked, piqued, displeased, put out, fed up, disgruntled, in a bad mood, in a temper, testy, in high dudgeon, huffy, in a huff, resentful, aggrieved;
furious, irate, infuriated, incensed, enraged, wrathful, choleric
informal aggravated, peeved, nettled, miffed, miffy, mad, riled, hacked off, peed off, hot under the collar, foaming at the mouth
British informal browned off, cheesed off, brassed off, not best pleased, narked, ratty, shirty, eggy
North American informal teed off, ticked off, sore, bent out of shape
Australian/New Zealand informal snaky, crook
West Indian informal vex
vulgar slang pissed off
North American vulgar slang pissed
literary ireful
archaic snuffy, wrath
2Cause inflammation or other discomfort in (a part of the body): sprays and polishes can irritate dry, sensitive skin
More 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;
hurt, pain;
chafe, abrade, fret, gall, rub painfully, rub against, scratch, rasp, scrape, graze, grate
rare excoriate
2.1 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: /ˈɪrɪtətɪv/
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.


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

Line breaks: ir¦ri|tate

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.