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verb (used without object)
  1. to have or feel a peculiar tingling or uneasy irritation of the skin that causes a desire to scratch the part affected: My nose itches.
  2. to cause such a feeling: This shirt itches.
  3. Informal. to scratch a part that itches.
  4. to have a desire to do or get something: to itch after fame.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to cause to have an itch: His wool shirt always itches him.
  2. Informal. to scratch (a part that itches): to itch a mosquito bite.
  3. to annoy; vex; irritate: Her remarks itched me.
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  1. the sensation of itching.
  2. an uneasy or restless desire or longing: an itch for excitement.
  3. a contagious disease caused by the itch mite, which burrows into the skin (usually preceded by the).
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Compare mange, scabies.

Origin of itch

before 900; (v.) Middle English (y)icchen, Old English gicc(e)an; akin to German jucken, Dutch jeuken; (noun) Middle English (y)icche, Old English gicce, derivative of the v.
Related formsan·ti-itch, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for itch


  1. an irritation or tickling sensation of the skin causing a desire to scratch
  2. a restless desire
  3. any skin disorder, such as scabies, characterized by intense itching
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  1. (intr) to feel or produce an irritating or tickling sensation
  2. (intr) to have a restless desire (to do something)
  3. not standard to scratch (the skin)
  4. itching palm a grasping nature; avarice
  5. have itchy feet to be restless; have a desire to travel
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Derived Formsitchy, adjectiveitchiness, noun

Word Origin

Old English gīccean to itch, of Germanic origin
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 itch


Old English gicce, from giccan (v.) "to itch" (see itch (v.)). Sense of "restless desire" is first attested 1530s; itching in this sense is from mid-14c.

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Old English giccan "to itch," from West Germanic *jukkjan (cf. Middle Dutch jöken "to itch," Old High German jucchen, German jucken). Related: Itched; itching.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

itch in Medicine


  1. An irritating skin sensation causing a desire to scratch.
  2. Any of various skin disorders, such as scabies, marked by intense irritation and itching.
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  1. To feel, have, or produce an itch.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.