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[ir-i-tnt] /ˈɪr ɪ tnt/
tending to cause irritation; irritating.
anything that irritates.
Physiology, Pathology. a biological, chemical, or physical agent that stimulates a characteristic function or elicits a response, especially an inflammatory response.
1630-40; < Latin irrītant- (stem of irrītāns), present participle of irrītāre to irritate; see -ant
Related forms
irritancy, noun
nonirritancy, noun
nonirritant, adjective
unirritant, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for irritant
  • It contains crystals of calcium oxalate, an irritant deactivated by heat.
  • Regarded as a counter-irritant to slang, archaism is a failure.
  • The researchers then swabbed the ears of the mice with another known irritant-to simulate tissue damage from surgery.
  • Despite his full cooperation, he was sprayed in the face with chemical irritant, and put into restraints.
  • Skin irritant, will make it feel as though water is scalding.
  • Nitrogen oxides also contribute to the formation of ozone, a known irritant to the respiratory system.
  • Seems to me to be the result of an irritant on the skin.
  • For me the enigma remains, leaving me as an irritant to those who have attained certainty.
  • Some governments deem drug-counterfeiting a trivial offence, little more than a common irritant.
  • Public opinion is untroubled, or sees them as a mere irritant: an obscure, geeky sort of prankster.
British Dictionary definitions for irritant


causing irritation; irritating
something irritant
Derived Forms
irritancy, noun
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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irritant in Medicine

irritant ir·ri·tant (ĭr'ĭ-tənt)
Causing irritation, especially physical irritation. n.
A source of irritation.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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