[ ir-i-tuh-buhl ]
See synonyms for: irritableirritablenessirritably on

  1. easily irritated or annoyed; readily excited to impatience or anger.

  2. Physiology, Biology. displaying irritability.

  1. Pathology. susceptible to physical irritation.

  2. Medicine/Medical. abnormally sensitive to a stimulus.

Origin of irritable

First recorded in 1655–65; from Latin irrītābilis, equivalent to irrītā(re) “to irritate ” + -bilis -ble

synonym study For irritable

1. Irritable, testy, touchy, irascible are adjectives meaning easily upset, offended, or angered. Irritable means easily annoyed or bothered, and it implies cross and snappish behavior: an irritable clerk, rude and hostile; Impatient and irritable, he was constantly complaining. Testy describes the same kind of behavior or response, particularly to minor annoyances: always on edge, testy and sharp in response; testy and petulant, resenting any interruption. Touchy emphasizes oversensitivity and readiness to take offense, even when none is intended: especially touchy about any reference to obesity. Irascible means habitually angry or easily aroused to anger: an irascible tyrant, roaring at employees for the slightest error.

Other words for irritable

Other words from irritable

  • ir·ri·ta·ble·ness, noun
  • ir·ri·ta·bly, adverb
  • non·ir·ri·ta·ble, adjective
  • non·ir·ri·ta·ble·ness, noun
  • non·ir·ri·ta·bly, adverb
  • un·ir·ri·ta·ble, adjective
  • un·ir·ri·ta·bly, adverb

Words Nearby irritable Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use irritable in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for irritable


/ (ˈɪrɪtəbəl) /

  1. quickly irritated; easily annoyed; peevish

  2. (of all living organisms) capable of responding to such stimuli as heat, light, and touch

  1. pathol abnormally sensitive

Derived forms of irritable

  • irritability, noun
  • irritableness, noun
  • irritably, adverb

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