Definition of irritation in English:



  • 1The state of feeling annoyed, impatient, or slightly angry.

    ‘much to my irritation, Chris fell asleep’
    • ‘Natalie's emerald eyes flashed with irritation and she sighed impatiently.’
    • ‘And all without the slightest signs of irritation or impatience.’
    • ‘Irrational and meaningless as it is, this exercise will nonetheless soothe your irritation.’
    • ‘So anger is a potential range of feelings, from irritation and determination to outrage and fury.’
    • ‘Evolutionists often express irritation when Piltdown Man and other fakes are raised by their opponents.’
    • ‘She held back a large sigh as irritation crept up to her stomach.’
    • ‘The impatience and irritation that was such a marked characteristic of New York is gone, replaced by a rare generosity and calm.’
    • ‘I could see the irritation on her face as she stopped and faced him.’
    • ‘Here a note of exasperation and irritation sometimes slips in.’
    • ‘I turned to my unwanted friend and with slight irritation in my voice said, ‘Would you mind not watching?’’
    • ‘Though it may sound drastic, sometimes it's our immediate surroundings that give us cause for irritation and fury.’
    • ‘But if it is not explained and proclaimed, the extra legal rights and duties could become a source of irritation and resentment.’
    • ‘Instead, his look of irritation and slight anger remained, making her quickly look back down to the paper.’
    • ‘"Hello, Henry, " she replied, a look of irritation on her face.’
    • ‘Her shoulders sagged and irritation flashed across her face as Paige and Carol Anne entered.’
    • ‘The irritation was evident in the speaker's voice.’
    • ‘Feel its vital life force surging through your system, obliterating anger and irritation, radiating peace outwards from your heart.’
    • ‘Once more, quick and clear communication forestalled irritation and resentment.’
    • ‘A look of mild irritation flashes quickly across his boyish features.’
    • ‘By the time you're downstairs all enthusiasm has been blunted somewhat, and you hit the streets with a slight feeling of irritation.’
    annoyance, infuriation, exasperation, vexation, indignation, impatience, crossness, displeasure, resentment, gall, chagrin, pique
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    1. 1.1[count noun]A thing that annoys or irritates someone.
      ‘the minor irritations of life’
      • ‘All the irritations and annoyances of my life have suddenly assumed their true proportion: small and petty.’
      • ‘There are a couple of minor irritations, but they're worth living with.’
      • ‘And to extract humour from annoyances and irritations is what comedians have always done since time immemorial.’
      • ‘Her snappy asides, unconstrained mix of observational humour and rants on life's irritations make for lucid, compulsive viewing.’
      • ‘But time and again irritations creep in which disrupt the flow of the book.’
      • ‘Islands may initially offer the idea of splendid isolation but they soon throw up their own irritations, their own unique problems.’
      • ‘Restricting access marginalizes youth, defining them as social nonentities at best, irritations at worst.’
      • ‘It is among the biggest irritations in modern life.’
      • ‘Most of the crackles and other irritations that are a staple of country blues recordings have been excised, and all of the fidelity remains intact.’
      • ‘Reading about your lives and sharing the laughter, love, and daily irritations have made my life much richer and happier.’
      • ‘Forget the irritations and the occasional rudeness, they bother us New Yorkers too.’
      • ‘The stress, irritations, fears and hopes are excised through simple repetitive movement.’
      • ‘In any case, his tirade illustrates how easily what were once mere irritations of daily life now turn into political crusades.’
      • ‘Why do some people snap, exploding into rages even over seemingly minor irritations?’
      • ‘Your employees aren't the only ones who suffer from such annoyances and irritations.’
      • ‘There are other, less serious, irritations to deal with.’
      • ‘The entries cited in the catalogue deal with problems and irritations common to all portrait painters.’
      • ‘Getting and staying married may seem formidable to a young pregnant woman because marriage is filled with a hundred irritations and difficulties.’
      • ‘Christian is unflappable, a quality I admired in him when we were still going out together, which turned into a source of irritations after we got married.’
      • ‘Naturally, this disability is attended by irritations, inconveniences, and some significant professional frustrations.’
      irritant, source of irritation, source of vexation, annoyance, source of annoyance, thorn in someone's flesh, thorn in someone's side, pinprick, pest, bother, trial, torment, plague, inconvenience, nuisance, bugbear, menace
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  • 2Inflammation or other discomfort in a body part caused by reaction to an irritant substance.

    ‘some chemicals cause a direct irritation to the skin leading to dermatitis’
    • ‘The aldehydes are also pungent gases and cause eye, nose and throat irritation.’
    • ‘Regardless of the form, take it with meals to reduce stomach irritation.’
    • ‘Sulfur dioxide at low levels of exposure can cause eye, nose, and respiratory tract irritation.’
    • ‘The degree of the upper airway irritation is known to vary with the type and concentration of inhalant.’
    • ‘To prevent local irritation, patients should allow the solution to dry before moving around.’
    • ‘Secondly, certain weeds, such as poison ivy, can actually cause severe skin irritation.’
    • ‘Metaplastic changes are common lesions and occur in reaction to foreign substances or chronic irritation.’
    • ‘Focal neurological deficits and features of raised intracranial tension may precede signs of meningeal irritation.’
    • ‘However, the more she rubbed at it, the most the irritation grew.’
    • ‘Other immediate effects of passive smoking include Headaches, nausea and eye irritation.’
    • ‘Chronic trigger points can lead to chronic nerve irritation and headache.’
    • ‘The patient's constant itching in an attempt to relieve irritation can lead to potentially debilitating sleep disturbance.’
    • ‘She presented again in January 1997 with recurrent chronic throat irritation.’
    • ‘They coat the throat and relieve the irritation that causes coughing.’
    • ‘The main side-effects are bladder irritation and diarrhoea.’
    • ‘Endoscopy allows doctors to check for irritation, ulcers, inflammation and abnormal tissue growth in the internal organs.’
    • ‘Neck pain from nerve irritation can last from three to six months or longer.’
    • ‘In high concentrations, the smoke causes ocular and upper respiratory tract irritation in health care personnel.’
    • ‘Mosquito bites cause severe skin irritation through an allergic reaction to the insects' saliva.’
    • ‘Tendonitis is inflammation or irritation of a tendon and is typically caused by overuse.’
    1. 2.1Biology The stimulation of an organism, cell, or organ to produce an active response.
      • ‘It has been shown that the mouse model has a predictive value for human responses to sensory irritation.’
      • ‘Initially, cellular growth increases markedly in an effort to regenerate tissue in response to irritation.’


Late Middle English: from Latin irritatio(n-), from the verb irritare (see irritate).