Definition of irk in English:



  • Irritate; annoy.

    ‘it irks her to think of the runaround she received’
    • ‘It irks me that they wouldn't just give us the permit.’
    • ‘What particularly irks me about this kind of research study is that they invariably come to the conclusion that men are somehow less emotional than women.’
    • ‘This book irks me a little in that I get this feeling that the author is one of those nouveau Brooklyn bohemes that think they're too cool for school.’
    • ‘It's the third essay which is particularly irking me, and which has provoked this writing.’
    • ‘Now I'm a newcomer, but isn't the mainstream media's sense of establishment one of the things that most irks outsiders?’
    • ‘But it is his personal crusade to save the English language from terminal decay, as he perceives it, which irks him the most.’
    • ‘One of the things that irks me a little bit about some commentary is that people often question reports without having any evidence to the contrary.’
    • ‘However, what really irks Henry is when his frustration in defeat or his lack of a smile when he scores is seen as a lack of respect for his team-mates or his opponents.’
    • ‘It is a significant Scottish story, yet it irks Miller that the London financial media display scant interest in its continued success, simply because it is a private firm.’
    • ‘It also irks me that anyone could be genuinely offended by this image.’
    • ‘It also irks me when people stop eating meat because ‘it's cruel’.’
    • ‘But the border problem irks Matte, especially seeing how some other artists are let into the country over others.’
    • ‘What irked me originally, and irks me now, is that two newspapers (at least) should have printed what was clearly an overly rosy version of the facts.’
    • ‘It was McKenna's goal which was chalked off by the misguided assistant referee and it obviously still irks the Canadian as he has never sat down to watch the goal that might have been.’
    • ‘This irks me to no end and I sometimes chastise him about buying the kids' loyalty.’
    • ‘It's the sense of disposability and dispensability of the population that's ongoing and that really irks me.’
    • ‘What really irks me about the finalists of the poster contest is this entry.’
    • ‘Something about people who start every sentence with I that irks me.’
    • ‘But what irks them the most is the lack of proper infrastructure.’
    • ‘What irks me most about this annual ritual of royal fiscal disclosure and the hue and cry that can be relied upon to greet it, is that nothing ever changes.’
    irritate, annoy, vex, gall, rattle, pique, rub up the wrong way, exasperate, try someone's patience, put out, displease
    anger, infuriate, madden, incense, make someone's blood boil, get on someone's nerves, make angry, make cross
    ruffle, ruffle someone's feathers, make someone's hackles rise, raise someone's hackles, discountenance
    antagonize, provoke, goad
    get someone's goat, get someone's back up, put someone's back up, peeve, miff, rile, aggravate, nettle, needle, get, get to, bug, hack off, get under someone's skin, get up someone's nose, put someone's nose out of joint, give someone the hump, rattle someone's cage, get someone's dander up, drive crazy, drive mad, drive round the twist, drive up the wall, make someone see red
    wind up, brown off, cheese off, nark, get across, get on someone's wick
    tee off, tick off, burn up, rankle, ride, gravel, bum out
    piss off
    get on someone's tits
    give someone the pip
    View synonyms


Middle English (in the sense ‘be annoyed or disgusted’): perhaps from Old Norse yrkja to work.