easily irritated or annoyed; readily excited to impatience or anger.
Physiology, Biology. displaying irritability.
Pathology. susceptible to physical irritation.
Medicine/Medical. abnormally sensitive to a stimulus.

Origin of irritable

1655–65; < Latin irrītābilis, equivalent to irrītā(re) to irritate + -bilis -ble
Related formsir·ri·ta·ble·ness, nounir·ri·ta·bly, adverbnon·ir·ri·ta·ble, adjectivenon·ir·ri·ta·ble·ness, nounnon·ir·ri·ta·bly, adverbun·ir·ri·ta·ble, adjectiveun·ir·ri·ta·bly, adverb

Synonyms for irritable

1. snappish, petulant, resentful. 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. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for irritably

Contemporary Examples of irritably

Historical Examples of irritably

  • "I believe I spoke plainly," said the superintendent, irritably.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • His mate warned him irritably away, and he curled up and slept in the entrance.

    White Fang

    Jack London

  • "You are certainly the most economical man I ever saw," declared the Prince, irritably.

    Prince Vance

    Eleanor Putnam

  • “You indulge the children too much, Ameres,” his wife said irritably.

  • "Then you will never marry a foreign husband," returned the sculptor, irritably.


    James Huneker

British Dictionary definitions for irritably



quickly irritated; easily annoyed; peevish
(of all living organisms) capable of responding to such stimuli as heat, light, and touch
pathol abnormally sensitive
Derived Formsirritability, nounirritableness, nounirritably, 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

Word Origin and History for irritably



1660s, from French irritable and directly from Latin irritabilis "easily excited," from irritare (see irritate). Related: Irritably.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

irritably in Medicine




Capable of reacting to a stimulus.
Abnormally sensitive to a stimulus.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.