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See more synonyms for irritability on Thesaurus.com
noun, plural ir·ri·ta·bil·i·ties.
  1. the quality or state of being irritable.
  2. Physiology, Biology. the ability to be excited to a characteristic action or function by the application of some stimulus: Protoplasm displays irritability by responding to heat.
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Origin of irritability

From the Latin word irrītābilitās, dating back to 1745–55. See irritable, -ity
Related formsnon·ir·ri·ta·bil·i·ty, nounsu·per·ir·ri·ta·bil·i·ty, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for irritability

irritation, anger, annoyance, peevishness, impatience

Examples from the Web for irritability

Contemporary Examples of irritability

Historical Examples of irritability

  • His eccentricity was a combination of absent-mindedness and irritability.

  • The work of vegetation begins first in the irritability of the bark and leaf-buds.

    Essays, First Series

    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • It was impressive riding to those who knew the filly's irritability, uncertainty.

    Garrison's Finish

    W. B. M. Ferguson

  • The irritability of the one active cell subsided, that of the others was aroused.

    The Paliser case

    Edgar Saltus

  • Did you notice any symptoms of mental disturbance or irritability about him at any time?

    The Shrieking Pit

    Arthur J. Rees

Word Origin and History for irritability


1755, from irritable + -ity.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

irritability in Medicine


  1. The capacity to respond to stimuli.
  2. Abnormal or excessive sensitivity to stimuli of an organism, organ, or body part.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.