• synonyms


[ir-i-tey-shuh n]
See more synonyms for irritation on Thesaurus.com
  1. the act of irritating or the state of being irritated.
  2. something that irritates.
  3. Physiology, Pathology.
    1. the bringing of a bodily part or organ to an abnormally excited or sensitive condition.
    2. the condition itself.
Show More

Origin of irritation

First recorded in 1580–90, irritation is from the Latin word irrītātiōn- (stem of irrītātiō). See irritate, -ion
Can be confusedaggravation annoyance intensification irritation worsening
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for irritation

soreness, irritability, inflammation, tenderness, anger, annoyance, discomfort, exasperation, susceptibility, rawness, excitability, hypersensitivity, tenseness, upset, stress, vexation, provocation, oversensitivity

Examples from the Web for irritation

Contemporary Examples of irritation

Historical Examples of irritation

  • At last, however, he mastered his irritation to some degree, and spoke his command briefly.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • Gilder made a gesture of irritation, as he sank into the chair at his desk.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • The violence of her feelings, which must wear her out, may be easily kept in irritation.

    Lady Susan

    Jane Austen

  • Moreover, it was forcibly borne in upon him just what a source of irritation they had been.


    Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius

  • Mrs. Little felt a strange mingling of pride and irritation at what she saw.

British Dictionary definitions for irritation


  1. something that irritates
  2. the act of irritating or the condition of being irritated
Show More
Derived Formsirritative, adjective
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 irritation


early 15c., in reference to sores and morbid swelling, from Middle French irritation or directly from Latin irritationem (nominative irritatio) "incitement, irritation," noun of action from past participle stem of irritare (see irritate).

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

irritation in Medicine


  1. Extreme incipient inflammatory reaction of the body tissues to an injury.
  2. The normal response of a nerve or muscle to a stimulus.
  3. The evocation of a reaction in the body tissues by the application of a stimulus.
Show More
Related formsirri•ta′tive (-tātĭv) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.