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[urk] /ɜrk/
verb (used with object)
to irritate, annoy, or exasperate:
It irked him to wait in line.
Origin of irk
1300-50; Middle English irken to grow tired, tire < Old Norse yrkja to work, cognate with Old English wyrcan; see work
chafe, fret, bother; tire. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for irks
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It irks me to see some of the best blood in Scotland among the grooms.'

    Two Penniless Princesses Charlotte M. Yonge
  • It irks them that humanity should wallow in its ignorance and blindness.

  • It irks me to confess it, but I have no more than these three florins.

    The Romance of Leonardo da Vinci

    Dmitry Sergeyevich Merezhkovsky
  • You see, it irks me to work for another, if I am interested in a case for myself.

    The Deep Lake Mystery Carolyn Wells
  • They cannot brook monotony and it irks them to dawdle about in the anteroom of action.

    The Vitalized School

    Francis B. Pearson
  • But she knows not where I am, nor know I how she fares, which irks me more than all my misfortunes.

    A Monk of Fife Andrew Lang
  • The sun shines upon them with a fervent heat, but it irks them not.

    Fisherman's Luck Henry van Dyke
  • A Western man likes lots of room; dead or alive, it irks him to be crowded.

    Raw Gold Bertrand W. Sinclair
British Dictionary definitions for irks


(transitive) to irritate, vex, or annoy
Word Origin
C13 irken to grow weary; probably related to Old Norse yrkja to work
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for irks



mid-15c., irken "be weary of, be disgusted with;" earlier intransitive, "to feel weary" (early 14c.). Of uncertain origin, perhaps related to Old Norse yrkja "work" (from PIE root *werg- "to work;" see urge (v.)), or Middle High German erken "to disgust." Modern sense of "annoy" is from late 15c. An adjective, irk "weary, tired" is attested from c.1300 in northern and midlands writing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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