[ir-i-teyt] /ˈɪr ɪˌteɪt/
verb (used with object), irritated, irritating.
to excite to impatience or anger; annoy.
Physiology, Biology. to excite (a living system) to some characteristic action or function.
Pathology. to bring (a body part) to an abnormally excited or sensitive condition.
verb (used without object), irritated, irritating.
to cause irritation or become irritated.
1525–35; < Latin irrītātus, past participle of irrītāre to arouse to anger, excite, aggravate, equivalent to irritā- v. stem + -tus past participle suffix
Related forms
irritator, noun
Can be confused
aggravate, annoy, intensify, irritate, worsen (see synonym study at aggravate)
1. vex, chafe, fret, gall; nettle, ruffle, pique; incense, enrage, infuriate, inflame. Irritate, exasperate, provoke mean to annoy or stir to anger. To irritate is to excite to impatience or angry feeling, often of no great depth or duration: to irritate by refusing to explain an action. To exasperate is to irritate to a point where self-control is threatened or lost: to exasperate by continual delays and excuses. To provoke is to stir to a sudden, strong feeling of resentful anger as by unwarrantable acts or wanton annoyance: to tease and provoke an animal until it attacks.
Example Sentences for irritate
But children often resist the patch, which can irritate the skin and elicit teasing from their peers.
Handle pods carefully, since they contain short, stiff fibers that can irritate skin and eyes add to my plant list.
Aspirin may irritate the stomach and alcohol can amplify the toxic effects of acetaminophen on the liver.
Nor does it irritate the user with an incessant buzzing.
The odorless chemical can also severely irritate the eyes or skin if it comes in contact with either.
It all looks good until you see it up close and notice the small flaws that will irritate you over time.
Heavy smoking can irritate the tongue and make it painful.
Basic point is if you irritate the party, anything can happen to you.
If your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him.
He radiated a fastidious sleekness that can only irritate.
British Dictionary definitions for irritate
irritate (ˈɪrɪˌteɪt)
1.  to annoy or anger (someone)
2.  (tr) biology to stimulate (an organism or part) to respond in a characteristic manner
3.  (tr) pathol to cause (a bodily organ or part) to become excessively stimulated, resulting in inflammation, tenderness, etc
[C16: from Latin irrītāre to provoke, exasperate]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin and History for irritate
1530s, from L. irritatus, from pp. stem of irritare "excite, provoke." An earlier verb form was irrite (mid-15c.), from O.Fr. irriter.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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