To irritate is to cause an unsettling reaction, whether it's of the body or the nerves. You can irritate someone by talking too loudly on your cellphone in public. You can also irritate your skin, causing a rash or redness.

To irritate is to disturb — either physically or psychologically. When you have an allergic reaction to something, you irritate or disturb the body. When you have an allergic reaction to your kid brother, he is probably irritating you with his annoying habits. And what is the result of something irritating? An irritation of course.

Definitions of irritate

v cause annoyance in; disturb, especially by minor irritations

“It irritates me that she never closes the door after she leaves”
annoy, bother, chafe, devil, get at, get to, gravel, nark, nettle, rag, rile, vex
feel extreme irritation or anger
show 10 types...
hide 10 types...
get, get under one's skin
eat into, fret, grate, rankle
gnaw into; make resentful or angry
cause to be annoyed, irritated, or resentful
trouble or vex
cause annoyance in
beset, chevvy, chevy, chivvy, chivy, harass, harry, hassle, molest, plague, provoke
annoy continually or chronically
antagonise, antagonize
provoke the hostility of
goad, needle
goad or provoke,as by constant criticism
bedevil, crucify, dun, frustrate, rag, torment
treat cruelly
harass by imposing humiliating or painful tasks, as in military institutions
Type of:
give displeasure to

v excite to an abnormal condition, or chafe or inflame

“Aspirin irritates my stomach”
cause to feel better
chafe, fret, gall
become or make sore by or as if by rubbing
itch, rub, scratch
scrape or rub as if to relieve itching
Type of:
aggravate, exacerbate, exasperate, worsen
make worse

v excite to some characteristic action or condition, such as motion, contraction, or nervous impulse, by the application of a stimulus

irritate the glands of a leaf”
pinch, vellicate
irritate as if by a nip, pinch, or tear
Type of:
excite, stimulate
act as a stimulant

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.