"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[urk] /ɜrk/
verb (used with object)
to irritate, annoy, or exasperate:
It irked him to wait in line.
Origin of irk
1300-50; Middle English irken to grow tired, tire < Old Norse yrkja to work, cognate with Old English wyrcan; see work
chafe, fret, bother; tire. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for irks
  • The one thing that still irks me is that, despite all my lecturing about anthropocentrism, it's inescapable.
  • What really irks me the false dichotomy: top journals vs junk journals, as if there is nothing in between.
  • Catalans are getting a taste for outlawing whatever irks them.
  • Still, the breakdown of the traditional order irks the former crime boss.
  • What irks me are those self-righteous partisans who don't realize that's what they're doing.
  • On the one hand you have a practice that irks readers because it makes the book less usable and essentially hides content.
  • What also irks me is that it seems to be one more example of the proliferation of dopey anniversaries in our culture.
British Dictionary definitions for irks


(transitive) to irritate, vex, or annoy
Word Origin
C13 irken to grow weary; probably related to Old Norse yrkja to work
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for irks



mid-15c., irken "be weary of, be disgusted with;" earlier intransitive, "to feel weary" (early 14c.). Of uncertain origin, perhaps related to Old Norse yrkja "work" (from PIE root *werg- "to work;" see urge (v.)), or Middle High German erken "to disgust." Modern sense of "annoy" is from late 15c. An adjective, irk "weary, tired" is attested from c.1300 in northern and midlands writing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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