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verb (used with object)
  1. to irritate, annoy, or exasperate: It irked him to wait in line.
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Origin of irk

1300–50; Middle English irken to grow tired, tire < Old Norse yrkja to work, cognate with Old English wyrcan; see work

Synonyms for irk

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for irk

annoy, disturb, peeve, bother, inconvenience, irritate, rile, vex, gall, provoke, ruffle, miff, bug, nettle, harass, incommode, abrade, rasp, discommode, trouble

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British Dictionary definitions for irk


  1. (tr) to irritate, vex, or annoy
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Word Origin for irk

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

Word Origin and History for irk


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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper