of, relating to, or characterized by an irritating sensation of the skin.
of, relating to, or having a longing or desire to do or have something: An itching public anxiously awaits her announcement.
characterized by restlessness or the desire for adventure or activity: an itching impulse to travel.
characterized by the desire to grasp; grasping; an itching palm open for a bribe.


Origin of itching

before 1000; Middle English (y)ichinge, (y)itchinge (noun, adj.); replacing Old English giccende (adj.). See itch, -ing2, -ing1
Related formsitch·ing·ly, adverb



verb (used without object)

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.
to cause such a feeling: This shirt itches.
Informal. to scratch a part that itches.
to have a desire to do or get something: to itch after fame.

verb (used with object)

to cause to have an itch: His wool shirt always itches him.
Informal. to scratch (a part that itches): to itch a mosquito bite.
to annoy; vex; irritate: Her remarks itched me.


the sensation of itching.
an uneasy or restless desire or longing: an itch for excitement.
a contagious disease caused by the itch mite, which burrows into the skin (usually preceded by the).
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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for itching

Contemporary Examples of itching

Historical Examples of itching

  • The boys, at least, had been itching for something like this ever since the trouble started.

    Good Indian

    B. M. Bower

  • The news stimulated him, and in a little while he was itching to write again.

    Changing Winds

    St. John G. Ervine

  • Since you have told me their plans I am itching to get at them.

  • He was itching to talk about books and make the most of his romantic hour.

    Howards End

    E. M. Forster

  • I am itching all ofer with iteas, as if I were living in a bag of vleas.

    Despair's Last Journey

    David Christie Murray

British Dictionary definitions for itching



an irritation or tickling sensation of the skin causing a desire to scratch
a restless desire
any skin disorder, such as scabies, characterized by intense itching


(intr) to feel or produce an irritating or tickling sensation
(intr) to have a restless desire (to do something)
not standard to scratch (the skin)
itching palm a grasping nature; avarice
have itchy feet to be restless; have a desire to travel
Derived Formsitchy, adjectiveitchiness, noun

Word Origin for itch

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 itching



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.



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

itching in Medicine




An irritating skin sensation causing a desire to scratch.
Any of various skin disorders, such as scabies, marked by intense irritation and itching.


To feel, have, or produce an itch.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.