verb (used with object)

to irritate, annoy, or exasperate: It irked him to wait in line.

Nearby words

  1. irishman,
  2. irishwoman,
  3. iritic,
  4. iritis,
  5. iritomy,
  6. irksome,
  7. irksomely,
  8. irkutsk,
  9. irl,
  10. irm

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for irking

  • His heart leaped at the notion of getting away from Ponkwasset; he perceived how it had been irking him to stay.

    April Hopes|William Dean Howells
  • "I have no desire or intention of irking you up, sir," he said.

    Frank Merriwell's Backers|Burt L. Standish

British Dictionary definitions for irking



(tr) to irritate, vex, or annoy

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 irking



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