irritable

irritable, fractious, peevish, snappish, waspish, petulant, pettish, huffy, fretful, querulous apply to persons or to their moods or dispositions in the sense of showing impatience or anger without due or sufficient cause.
Irritable implies extreme excitability of temperament, often associated with or arising from fatigue or physical or mental distress, that makes one exceedingly easy to annoy or difficult to please
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mental work brings on ... an irritable and nervous disgust— Arnold

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a hot day and the clerk in the store was irritable . . . had not slept much the night before and he had a headache— Saxon

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Fractious carries a stronger implication of willfulness or of unruliness than irritable, and although it also implies extreme excitability, it suggests even greater loss of self-control; the term is often applied to animals as well as to persons
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those who are spoilt and fractious, who must have everything their own v/ay—Swinnerton

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he was fractious in the saddling paddock and slow leaving the starting gate— Audax Minor

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Peevish implies childish irritability and a tendency to give expression to petty complaints or ill- humored trivial criticisms
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peevish because he called her and she did not come, and he threw his bowl of tea on the ground like a willful child— Buck

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I have heard some London wits, rather peevish at Macaulay's superiority, complain that he occupied too much of the talk— Thackeray

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Snappish implies irritability or sometimes peevishness that manifests itself in sharp, cutting questions, comments, or objections that discourage conversation or sociability
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an extremely unlikable, snappish old fellow

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an obbligato of bickering and snappish comment— Bester

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Waspish stresses testiness rather than irritability, but it implies a readiness to sting or hurt others without warrant or without sufficient warrant
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beware of his waspish temper

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her comments may be amusing but they are always waspish

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a little waspish woman who ... snapped out at a man who seemed to be with her—C. S. Lewis

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Petulant usually suggests the sulkiness of a spoiled child as well as peevishness and capricious impatience
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as he had no means of confuting his nephew, all he could do . . . was to utter petulant remarks on his powerlessness to appear at the dinner table that day— Meredith

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in his youth the spoiled child of Boston, in middle life he was petulant and irritable, inclined to sulk when his will was crossed— Parrington

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Pettish implies sulky or childish ill humor (as of one who is slighted or offended)
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said many careless, many foolish, many merely pettish things— Fadiman

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Stephen's resistance was but the pettish outbreak of a ruined man— J. R. Green

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Huffy also implies a tendency to take offense without due cause, but it suggests more of a display of injured pride than pettish
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when he is reproved, he is huffy for the rest of the day

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I bear no grudge at all against you. I am not huffy and crabbed— Gregory

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Fretful implies irritability and restlessness that may manifest itself in complaints or in a complaining tone of voice
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a fretful child

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but often is merely suggested by a lack of ease and repose
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all the fretful doubts and perturbations of the conscience most men know— Wolfe

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the air, breathed many times and spent, was fretful with a whispering discontent— Millay

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weary days offretful argument— Charles & Mary Beard

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Querulous implies an often habitual discontent that manifests itself in whining complaints or in fretfulness of temper; it often also suggests petulance
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her querulous and never-ending complaints— Gaskell

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the man himself grew old and querulous and hysterical with failure and repeated disappointment and chronic poverty— Huxley

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Analogous words: cranky, cross, testy, touchy, choleric, splenetic, *irascible
Antonyms: easygoing
Contrasted words: *amiable, good-natured, complaisant, obliging: genial, sociable, affable, cordial, *gracious

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • irritable — [ iritabl ] adj. • 1757; « irritant » 1520; lat. irritabilis 1 ♦ Biol. Susceptible de réagir à un stimulus. Toute matière vivante est irritable. ⇒ excitable. 2 ♦ (1829) Cour. Prompt à se mettre en colère, qu un rien irrite. ⇒ chatouilleux,… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Irritable — Ir ri*ta*ble, a. [L. irritabilis: cf. F. irritable. See {Irritate}.] [1913 Webster] 1. Capable of being irritated. [1913 Webster] 2. Very susceptible of anger or passion; easily inflamed or exasperated; as, an irritable temper. [1913 Webster]… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • irritable — adjetivo 1. (ser / estar) Que se irrita o tiende a irritarse o enfadarse con facilidad: Tiene un carácter muy irritable. Estás muy irritable últimamente, ¿se puede saber qué te ocurre? …   Diccionario Salamanca de la Lengua Española

  • irritable — [ir′i tə bəl] adj. [L irritabilis < irritare, to IRRITATE] 1. easily annoyed or provoked; fretful 2. Med. excessively or pathologically sensitive to a stimulus 3. Physiol. able to respond to a stimulus irritability n. irritableness irritably… …   English World dictionary

  • irritable — (adj.) 1660s, from Fr. irritable and directly from L. irritabilis easily excited, from irritare (see IRRITATE (Cf. irritate)). Related: Irritably …   Etymology dictionary

  • irritable — index fractious, froward, petulant, querulous, sensitive (easily affected) Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • irritable — [adj] bad tempered, crabby annoyed, bearish, brooding, cantankerous, carping, choleric, complaining, contentious, crabbed, cross, crotchety, disputatious, dissatisfied, dyspeptic, easily offended, exasperated, fiery, fractious, fretful, fretting …   New thesaurus

  • irritable — ► ADJECTIVE 1) easily annoyed or angered. 2) Medicine abnormally sensitive. DERIVATIVES irritability noun irritableness noun irritably adverb …   English terms dictionary

  • irritable — (i rri ta bl ) adj. 1°   Qui s irrite facilement. Homme irritable. Un esprit irritable. 2°   Qui est vivement affecté par les impressions reçues, tant au physique qu au moral. Tempérament irritable. Il a le genre nerveux très irritable.… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • IRRITABLE — adj. des deux genres T. de Physiologie. Susceptible d irritation, de contraction. Les muscles sont irritables.   Il se dit aussi en parlant De la disposition à éprouver très vivement les impressions qu on reçoit. Il est d un tempérament fort… …   Dictionnaire de l'Academie Francaise, 7eme edition (1835)

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