- to excite to impatience or anger; annoy.
- Physiology, Biology. to excite (a living system) to some characteristic action or function.
- Pathology. to bring (a body part) to an abnormally excited or sensitive condition.
- to cause irritation or become irritated.
Origin of irritate
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for irritate
Since coffee can irritate the gut, she suggests opting for herbal tea instead.5 Hangover Cures to Save You After a Few Too Many
December 19, 2014
Huffington also wrote that he was “easy to irritate and apt to air his grudges in public.”TechCrunch Founder Michael Arrington Accused of Abuse
April 8, 2013
He will perform this role very well, especially if he curbs his gaffes that have already begun to irritate the White House.What’s Wrong With Panetta?
Leslie H. Gelb
July 14, 2011
He reminds me of the head of the American Tobacco Co. whose motto was, ‘Irritate them, irritate them.’Will Weiner's Mentor Abandon Him?
June 10, 2011
The smooth chatter begins to irritate me, and then infuriate me.Notre Dame's Shameful Suicide Scandal
January 6, 2011
The sick man was flushed and growing fretful; it would not do to irritate him.K
Mary Roberts Rinehart
Such were the habits calculated to irritate the conventionalities of Tiverton against her.Meadow Grass
Yet you stand there and irritate me with your chatter of another world.Abbe Mouret's Transgression
He did not speak and his silence seemed to irritate his partner.Mary-'Gusta
Joseph C. Lincoln
Do you say this to irritate and offend me, or do you prevaricate out of shame?A Day's Ride
Charles James Lever
- to annoy or anger (someone)
- (tr) biology to stimulate (an organism or part) to respond in a characteristic manner
- (tr) pathol to cause (a bodily organ or part) to become excessively stimulated, resulting in inflammation, tenderness, etc
Word Origin and History for irritate
1530s, "stimulate to action, rouse, incite," from Latin irritatus, past participle of irritare "excite, provoke." An earlier verb form was irrite (mid-15c.), from Old French irriter. Meaning "annoy, make impatient" is from 1590s. Related: Irritated; irritating.