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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


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

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Examples from the Web for irked

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • But he felt he had to conceal something from her, and it irked him.

    Sons and Lovers

    David Herbert Lawrence

  • It was soon seen, too, that just as he irked her, so she disparaged him—an open road to others.

    On the Stairs

    Henry B. Fuller

  • He continued pacing to and fro, irked by his predicament, frowning with thought.

  • After the humiliation of what had been said it irked Tabs to have to see him pay it.

  • He shook himself, as though his clothes, perhaps his body even, irked him.

    The Bright Messenger

    Algernon Blackwood

British Dictionary definitions for irked


  1. (tr) to irritate, vex, or annoy
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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

Word Origin and History for irked



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