causing irritation; annoying; provoking: irritating questions.

Nearby words

  1. irritable heart,
  2. irritant,
  3. irritate,
  4. irritated,
  5. irritatedly,
  6. irritation,
  7. irritation fibroma,
  8. irritative,
  9. irrorate,
  10. irrotational

Origin of irritating

First recorded in 1700–10; irritate + -ing2

Related formsir·ri·tat·ing·ly, adverbnon·ir·ri·tat·ing, adjectiveun·ir·ri·tat·ing, adjective



verb (used with object), ir·ri·tat·ed, ir·ri·tat·ing.

to excite to impatience or anger; annoy.
Physiology, Biology. to excite (a living system) to some characteristic action or function.
Pathology. to bring (a body part) to an abnormally excited or sensitive condition.

verb (used without object), ir·ri·tat·ed, ir·ri·tat·ing.

to cause irritation or become irritated.

Origin of irritate

1525–35; < Latin irrītātus, past participle of irrītāre to arouse to anger, excite, aggravate, equivalent to irritā- v. stem + -tus past participle suffix

Related formsir·ri·ta·tor, noun

Can be confusedaggravate annoy irritate

Synonym study

1. Irritate, exasperate, provoke mean to annoy or stir to anger. To irritate is to excite to impatience or angry feeling, often of no great depth or duration: to irritate by refusing to explain an action. To exasperate is to irritate to a point where self-control is threatened or lost: to exasperate by continual delays and excuses. To provoke is to stir to a sudden, strong feeling of resentful anger as by unwarrantable acts or wanton annoyance: to tease and provoke an animal until it attacks. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for irritating

British Dictionary definitions for irritating



to annoy or anger (someone)
(tr) biology to stimulate (an organism or part) to respond in a characteristic manner
(tr) pathol to cause (a bodily organ or part) to become excessively stimulated, resulting in inflammation, tenderness, etc
Derived Formsirritator, noun

Word Origin for irritate

C16: from Latin irrītāre to provoke, exasperate

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 irritating



1530s, "stimulate to action, rouse, incite," from Latin irritatus, past participle of irritare "excite, provoke." An earlier verb form was irrite (mid-15c.), from Old French irriter. Meaning "annoy, make impatient" is from 1590s. Related: Irritated; irritating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper