Definition of irritant in English:



  • 1A substance that causes slight inflammation or other discomfort to the body:

    ‘a powerful skin irritant’
    • ‘Some substances may not be irritants but if the skin becomes sensitised - or allergic - to them they may cause a reaction.’
    • ‘A cough is a reflex action to clear the airways of mucus, phlegm, irritants or a foreign body.’
    • ‘Ozone is a highly reactive gas that is regulated in the outside air as a lung irritant.’
    • ‘He announced that " chemical irritants " would be used if they did not leave.’
    • ‘Exposure to respiratory irritants such as second-hand tobacco smoke, dusts, and fumes should be minimized.’
    • ‘Severe skin irritants are less common but more serious hazards.’
    • ‘But sometimes these allergens and irritants become stuck in the lining of your nose.’
    • ‘Moisture barriers, sometimes called skin protectants, shield the skin from exposure to irritants or moisture.’
    • ‘"It became clear people inhaled airborne irritants, " he says.’
    • ‘Strong odors and chemical irritants may also trigger the sensitive airways of the asthmatic patient.’
    • ‘If there was one thing he didn't need, it was a face full of skin irritant.’
    • ‘Lesion onset usually occurs in a pattern related to the skin irritant or allergen initiating the reaction.’
    • ‘In the absence of these irritants, sputum production and airway inflammation should decrease.’
    • ‘The most important treatment is identifying and removing the irritant or allergen.’
    • ‘Chlorine has a disagreeable odor and may be a respiratory irritant.’
    • ‘Inflammation makes the airways sensitive to stimuli such as allergens, chemical irritants, tobacco smoke, cold air, or exercise.’
    • ‘Macrophages may be activated by cigarette smoke and other inhaled irritants.’
    • ‘The key point here is to avoid the irritants often found in many popular nutritional formulas.’
    • ‘Selected volatile organic compounds known to be respiratory irritants were determined in the mattress emissions.’
    • ‘The initial treatment step is to eliminate tobacco smoke or other environmental irritants.’
  • 2A thing that is continually annoying or distracting:

    ‘in 1966 Vietnam was becoming an irritant to the government’
    • ‘Our diplomats are instructed to avoid unnecessary irritants and purely rhetorical hostility.’
    • ‘- But Greenpeace had become a bigger irritant for the French than it had realised.’
    • ‘Still, these are mostly minor irritants that can easily be dismissed as necessary game requirements.’
    • ‘What should be a service to the community is seen as a major irritant.’
    • ‘Another constant irritant for the judge was poor media reporting.’
    annoyance, irritation, source of irritation, source of vexation, source of annoyance, thorn in someone's flesh, thorn in someone's side, pinprick, pest, bother, trial, torment, plague, inconvenience, nuisance, menace
    aggravation, peeve, pet peeve, pain, pain in the neck, bind, bore, headache, hassle
    nyaff, skelf
    pain in the butt, nudnik, burr in someone's saddle, burr under someone's saddle
    fair cow
    pain in the arse
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  • Causing slight inflammation or other discomfort to the body:

    ‘chlorine bleaches can be irritant to the skin’
    • ‘Their long, skinny bodies were covered with irritant hairs.’
    • ‘Irritant contact dermatitis is a skin reaction caused by the direct effect of an irritant substance on the skin.’
    • ‘The welding process produces a complex mixture of irritant gases, coarse metal particulates, and fine metal oxide fume.’
    • ‘Ammonia is an irritant gas with a sharp odor, both as a natural and a manufactured chemical.’
    • ‘Skin testing will not be useful in identifying the potential for these irritant substances to cause symptoms.’
    causing inflammation, causing swelling
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