• WordNet 3.6
    • n irritability a disposition to exhibit uncontrolled anger "his temper was well known to all his employees"
    • n irritability excessive sensitivity of an organ or body part
    • n irritability an irritable petulant feeling
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Cashew nuts contain oil in the shell that is very irritating to the skin
    • Irritability (Med) A condition of morbid excitability of an organ or part of the body; undue susceptibility to the influence of stimuli. See Irritation n., 3.
    • Irritability (Physiol) A natural susceptibility, characteristic of all living organisms, tissues, and cells, to the influence of certain stimuli, response being manifested in a variety of ways, -- as that quality in plants by which they exhibit motion under suitable stimulation; esp., the property which living muscle possesses, of responding either to a direct stimulus of its substance, or to the stimulating influence of its nerve fibers, the response being indicated by a change of form, or contraction; contractility.
    • Irritability The state or quality of being irritable; quick excitability; petulance; fretfulness; as, irritability of temper.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: More than 100 years ago, the felt hat makers of England used mercury to stabilize wool. Most of them eventually became poisoned by the fumes, as demonstrated by the Mad Hatter in Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. Breathing mercury's fumes over a long period of time will cause erethism, a disorder characterized by nervousness, irritability, and strange personality changes.
    • n irritability The quality of being irritable; an irritable state or condition of the mind; proneness to mental irritation; irascibility; petulance: as, irritability of temper.
    • n irritability In physiology, the property of nerve, muscle, or other active tissue of reacting upon stimuli; in muscles, specifically, the property of contracting when stimulated.
    • n irritability In botany, that endowment of a vegetable organism by virtue of which a motion takes place in it in response to an external stimulus. Such motion may be obvious in a special organ and sudden, as in the sensitive-plant and Venus's fly-trap, or slow, as in the coiling of a tendril; or it may be internal in the protoplasm, of which while living irritability is a fundamental property, and from which, indeed, the outward motion proceeds. “The external stimulus may be mechanical, simply the contact of a foreign hody, or electrical, or chemical; a sudden change from light to darkness, or a variation in the intensity of the illumination, sometimes acts as a stimulus.” (Vines, Physiology of Plants, p. 301.) Irritability is nearly the same as sensitiveness. See sensitive-plant, protoplasm.
    • n irritability In pathology, morbid responsiveness to stimuli.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Mosquitoes dislike citronella because it irritates their feet.
    • n Irritability the quality of being easily irritated: the peculiar susceptibility to stimuli possessed by the living tissues
    • ***


  • Horace
    “The one who cannot restrain their anger will wish undone, what their temper and irritation prompted them to do.”
  • Edward M. Forster
    “I have only got down on to paper, really, three types of people: the person I think I am, the people who irritate me, and the people I'd like to be.”
  • Pennsylvania Dutch Proverb
    Pennsylvania Dutch Proverb
    “Our faults irritate us most when we see them in others.”
  • W. H. Auden
    “Between friends differences in taste or opinion are irritating in direct proportion to their triviality.”
  • Carl Jung
    “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”
  • Edward Hoagland
    “There aren't many irritations to match the condescension which a woman metes out to a man who she believes has loved her vainly for the past umpteen years.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. irritabilitas,: cf. F. irritabilité,
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L. irritāre, -ātum, prob. freq. of irrīre, to snarl, as a dog.


In literature:

The work had left him with a curious irritating sense of its distastefulness.
"The Voice of the People" by Ellen Glasgow
Still, he asked himself irritably, why should he care because Nelly Abbott and Betty Gower had seen him using his fists?
"Poor Man's Rock" by Bertrand W. Sinclair
Irritated by the growing strength of the new royal castle of Montgomery, he laid siege to it in 1228.
"The History of England" by T.F. Tout
Besides, her illness made her irritable.
"By the Light of the Soul" by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
Her calmness irritated Edith.
"The Helpmate" by May Sinclair
She flushed, her vanity irritated.
"Visionaries" by James Huneker
Edmund had indeed only stayed with them long enough to leave a very marked impression of low spirits and irritation.
"Great Possessions" by Mrs. Wilfrid Ward
A rising irritability, engendered by leathery eggs and fostered by Henry's expression, was taking possession of me.
"Our Elizabeth" by Florence A. Kilpatrick
Medicines which allay irritation or irritability of the nervous system.
"The People's Common Sense Medical Adviser in Plain English" by R. V. Pierce
M. de Guiche is susceptible, irritable, and easily loses his temper.
"The Vicomte de Bragelonne" by Alexandre Dumas

In poetry:

It only irritated Brahms
To tickle him under the arms.
What really helped him to compose
Was to be stroked on the nose.
"Clerihew – Brahms" by Edmund Clerihew Bentley
"Be off!" said irritated BOB.
"Why come you here to bother one?
You pharisaical old snob,
You're wuss almost than t'other one!
"Bob Polter" by William Schwenck Gilbert
Let thine own blood assuage the vengeful ire
Of thy too-justly irritated Sire —
Let thine own blood his furious wrath appease,
That all the sorrows of my soul may cease!
"An Earnest Prayer For Pardon Of Sins" by Rees Prichard
Ask thou not ought, as long as thou dost live,
That is repugnant to God's holy Word:
If thou shou'dst ask, what he's not pleas'd to give,
Thy prayer will but irritate the Lord.
"Concerning Prayer, And Its Proper Requisites" by Rees Prichard
VOICE OF THE PEOPLE (irritably):
"Jim? Oh, be d-d to him. Doors are all slammed to him -
Cohen's and Isaac's and old Ikey Mo's.
We would live decently! Up the spout recently
He has shoved everything barring our clothes.
"A Dirge of the Morning After" by C J Dennis
With all its petty pain,
Its irritating littleness and care;
They who have scaled the mountain, with content
Sublime, descend to live upon the plain;
Steadfast as though they breathed the mountain-air
Still, wheresoe'er they went.
"Heroes" by Emma Lazarus

In news:

Most Irritating People of 2009.
Irritating Irritable Bowel Syndrome (Part 3).
Have you wondered why the most irritated people in the world always call you.
From this point, the service you provide can either soothe - or increase - these feelings of panic and irritation .
The longer he waits, the more irritated he gets.
The survey reveled that irritation level is related to age, income and education.
But only 34 percent of those aged 18-24 and 40 percent of those 25-34, expressed this degree of irritation .
A recent survey from USA Today asked the question – What is the most irritating sound you can think of.
Top 11 Ways to Irritate Your Co-workers.
Here are things that irritate me.
Sometimes business etiquette is simply not irritating other people unnecessarily.
Tony Johnson, 22, of Brooklyn, admitted he is a prime offender when it comes to irritating speech.
Thruway toll hike flap draws in-house irritation .
It is recommended for formulation into sensitive and reactive skin care, acneic skin care, irritated scalp care, sun and after-sun care and anti-mosquito soothing care.
Sean Burnett dealing with irritation in his left elbow, will rest for a couple days.

In science:

Synchrotron radiation was an irritant in early electron synchrotrons and storage rings.
The world of synchrotrons
Irritating also because no convincing fault in the Nozieres idea has been found.
Developments in Correlated Fermions
A couple of minor irritants need to be quickly addressed.
Applications of duality theory to cousin complexes
But there are still some irritating results.
Summary Talk: Challenges in Particle Astrophysics
The notation chosen may irritate some readers.
What do quantum "weak" measurements actually measure?