Definition of irritant in English:



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

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


  • Causing slight inflammation or other discomfort to the body.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    causing inflammation, causing swelling
    View synonyms