irascibility (n.) Look up irascibility at
1750, from irascible + -ity.
irascible (adj.) Look up irascible at
late 14c., from Middle French irascible (12c.) and directly from Late Latin irascibilis, from Latin irasci "be angry, be in a rage," from ira "anger" (see ire).
irate (adj.) Look up irate at
1838, from Latin iratus "angry, enraged, violent, furious," past participle of irasci "grow angry," from ira "anger" (see ire).
ire (n.) Look up ire at
c. 1300, from Old French ire "anger, wrath, violence" (11c.), from Latin ira "anger, wrath, rage, passion," from PIE root *eis- (1), forming various words denoting "passion" cognates: Greek hieros "filled with the divine, holy," oistros "gadfly," originally "thing causing madness;" Sanskrit esati "drives on," yasati "boils;" Avestan aesma "anger;" Lithuanian aistra "violent passion").

Old English irre in a similar sense is from an adjective irre "wandering, straying, angry," cognate with Old Saxon irri "angry," Old High German irri "wandering, deranged," also "angry;" Gothic airzeis "astray," and Latin errare "wander, go astray, angry" (see err (v.)). (cognates: Avestan aešma- "anger," Lithuanian aistra "violent passion," Latin ira "anger")
Ireland Look up Ireland at
12c., Anglo-Norman, with land + native Eriu (see Irish).
Irene Look up Irene at
fem. proper name, from French Irène, from Latin Irene, from Greek Eirene, literally "peace, time of peace."
irenic (adj.) Look up irenic at
1864; see eirenic.
irenology (n.) Look up irenology at
"study of peace," 1974, from Greek eirene "peace" + -ology. Related: Irenological.
Irgun Look up Irgun at
militant Zionist organization, 1946, from Modern Hebrew, literally "organization," in full Irgun Zvai Leumi "national military organization."
iridescence (n.) Look up iridescence at
1804, from iridescent + -ence. Related: Iridescency (1799).
iridescent (adj.) Look up iridescent at
1796, literally "rainbow-colored," coined from comb. form of Latin iris (genitive iridis) "rainbow" (see iris). Related: Iridescently.
iridium (n.) Look up iridium at
1804, Modern Latin, coined in Modern Latin by its discoverer, English chemist Smithson Tennant (1761-1815) from Greek iris (genitive iridos) "rainbow;" so called for "the striking variety of colours which it gives while dissolving in marine acid" [Tennant]
iris (n.) Look up iris at
late 14c., flowering plant (Iris germanica), also "prismatic rock crystal," from Latin iris (plural irides) "iris of the eye, iris plant, rainbow," from Greek iris (genitive iridos) "a rainbow; the lily; iris of the eye," originally "messenger of the gods," personified as the rainbow. The eye region was so called (early 15c. in English) for being the colored part; the Greek word was used of any brightly colored circle, "as that round the eyes of a peacock's tail" [Liddell & Scott].
Irish (n.) Look up Irish at
c. 1200, Irisce, from stem of Old English Iras "inhabitant of Ireland," from Old Norse irar, ultimately from Old Irish Eriu (accusative Eirinn, Erinn) "Erin," which is from Old Celtic *Iveriu (accusative *Iverionem, ablative *Iverione), perhaps from PIE *pi-wer- "fertile," literally "fat," from root *peie- "to be fat, swell" (see fat (adj.)).

Meaning "temper, passion" is 1834, American English (first attested in writings of Davy Crockett), from the legendary pugnacity of Irish people. Irish-American is from 1832; Irish stew is attested from 1814; Irish coffee is from 1950. Wild Irish (late 14c.) originally were those not under English rule; Black Irish in reference to those of Mediterranean appearance is from 1888.
Irishman (n.) Look up Irishman at
c. 1200, from Irish + man (n.).
irk (v.) Look up irk at
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 organ), 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.
irksome (adj.) Look up irksome at
"bothersome, burdensome," early 15c., from irk + -some (1). Related: Irksomely; irksomeness.
Irma Look up Irma at
fem. proper name; see Emma.
iron (n.) Look up iron at
Old English isærn (with Middle English rhotacism of -s-) "the metal iron; an iron weapon," from Proto-Germanic *isarnan (cognates: Old Saxon isarn, Old Norse isarn, Middle Dutch iser, Old High German isarn, German Eisen) "holy metal" or "strong metal" (in contrast to softer bronze) probably an early borrowing of Celtic *isarnon (compare Old Irish iarnhaiarn), from PIE *is-(e)ro- "powerful, holy," from PIE *eis "strong" (cognates: Sanskrit isirah "vigorous, strong," Greek ieros "strong").
Right so as whil that Iren is hoot men sholden smyte. [Chaucer, c. 1386]
Chemical symbol Fe is from the Latin word for the metal, ferrum (see ferro-). Meaning "metal device used to press or smooth clothes" is from 1610s. The adjective is Old English iren, isern. To have (too) many irons in the fire "to be doing too much at once" is from 1540s. Iron lung "artificial respiration tank" is from 1932.
iron (v.) Look up iron at
c. 1400, irenen, "to make of iron," from iron (n.). Meaning "press clothes" (with a heated flat-iron) is recorded from 1670s. Related: Ironed; ironing.
Iron Age Look up Iron Age at
1590s, originally from Greek and Roman mythology, the last and worst age of the world; the archaeological sense of "period in which humans used iron tools and weapons" is from 1879.
Iron Cross Look up Iron Cross at
from German das eiserne kreuz, instituted by Frederick Wilhelm III of Prussia, originally for distinguished military service in the wars against Napoleon.
Iron Curtain (n.) Look up Iron Curtain at
in reference to the Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe, famously coined by Winston Churchill March 5, 1946, in speech at Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri, but it had been used earlier in this context (for example by U.S. bureaucrat Allen W. Dulles at a meeting of the Council on Foreign Relations, Dec. 3, 1945). The figurative sense of "impenetrable barrier" is attested from 1819, and the specific sense of "barrier at the edge of the sphere of influence of the Soviet Union" is recorded from 1920. During World War II, Goebbels used it in German (ein eiserner Vorhang) in the same sense. Its popular use in the U.S. dates from Churchill's speech.
iron-gray Look up iron-gray at
Old English isengrægum; see iron (n.) + gray. The color of freshly broken cast iron.
iron-on (adj.) Look up iron-on at
1959, from the verbal phrase, from iron (v.) + on (adv.).
ironclad (adj.) Look up ironclad at
1852, of warships, American English, from iron (n.) + clad. Of contracts, etc., 1884. As a noun meaning "iron-clad ship," it is attested from 1862.
ironic (adj.) Look up ironic at
1620s, from Late Latin ironicus, from Greek eironikos "dissembling, putting on a feigned ignorance," from eironeia (see irony). Related: Ironical (1570s); ironically.
ironing (n.) Look up ironing at
"act of pressing and smoothing clothes with a heated flat-iron," c. 1710, from present participle of iron (v.). Ironing board attested from 1843.
Ironside Look up Ironside at
name given to a man of great hardihood or bravery, c. 1300, first applied to Edmund II, king of England (d.1016), later also to Oliver Cromwell and his troops. Old Ironsides as a nickname of U.S.S. "Constitution" dates from that ship's defeat of H.M.S. "Guerriere" on Aug. 19, 1812, in the War of 1812.
ironwork (n.) Look up ironwork at
early 15c., from iron (n.) + work (n.).
irony (n.) Look up irony at
c. 1500, from Latin ironia, from Greek eironeia "dissimulation, assumed ignorance," from eiron "dissembler," perhaps related to eirein "to speak" (see verb). Used in Greek of affected ignorance, especially that of Socrates. For nuances of usage, see humor. Figurative use for "condition opposite to what might be expected; contradictory circumstances" is from 1640s.
irony (adj.) Look up irony at
"of or resembling iron," late 14c., from iron (n.) + -y (2).
Iroquois Look up Iroquois at
1660s, from French (c. 1600); not an Iroquoian word, perhaps from an Algonquian language. Related: Iroquoian.
irradiance (adj.) Look up irradiance at
1660s, from irradiant (1520s), from Latin irradiantem (nominative irradians), present participle of irradiare (see irradiate). Related: Irradiancy (1640s).
irradiate (v.) Look up irradiate at
c. 1600, "to cast beams of light upon," from Latin irradiatus, past participle of irradiare "shine forth," from assimilated form of in- "into, in" (see in- (2)) + radiare "to shine" (see radiate). Meaning "expose to radiation other than light" (originally X-rays) is from 1901. Related: Irradiated; irradiating.
irradiation (n.) Look up irradiation at
1580s, from French irradiation, from Latin *irradiationem, noun of action from past participle stem of irradiare (see irradiate). Originally of light (literally and figuratively); of X-rays, etc., from 1901.
irradicable (adj.) Look up irradicable at
1728, from ir- "not" + radicable.
irrational (adj.) Look up irrational at
late 15c., "not endowed with reason" (of beats, etc.); earlier (of quantities) "inexpressible in ordinary numbers" (late 14c.); from Latin irrationalis "without reason," from assimilated form of in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + rationalis "reason" (see rational). Meaning "illogical, absurd" is attested from 1640s. Related: Irrationally.
irrationality (n.) Look up irrationality at
1560s, from irrational + -ity.
irreconcilable (adj.) Look up irreconcilable at
1590s, from French irréconcilable (16c.), from Medieval Latin *irreconcilabilis, from assimilated form of in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + reconcilabilis (see reconcile). Related: Irreconcilably. As a noun from 1748.
irrecoverable (adj.) Look up irrecoverable at
mid-15c., from Old French irrecovrable, from assimilated form of in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + recovrable (see recover). In same sense irrecuperable (from Late Latin irrecuperabilis) is from mid-14c. Related: Irrecoverably.
irredeemable (adj.) Look up irredeemable at
c. 1600, from assimilated form of in- (1) "not, opposite of" + redeemable. Related: Irredeemably.
irredentist (n.) Look up irredentist at
1882, member of Italian political party which (after 1878) demanded the annexation of neighboring Italian-speaking regions (Trieste, S. Tyrol, Nice, Corsica, etc.), from Italian Irredentista, from (Italia) irredenta "unredeemed (Italy)." Related: Irredentism.
irreducible (adj.) Look up irreducible at
1530s, from assimilated form of in- (1) "not, opposite of" + reducible. Related: Irreducibly; irreducibility.
irrefragable (adj.) Look up irrefragable at
"that cannot be refuted," 1530s, from Late Latin irrefragabilis, from assimilated form of in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + Latin refragari "to oppose, contest," from re- "back" (see re-) + frag-, base of frangere "to break" (see fraction). Related: irrefragably; irrefragability.
irrefrangible (adj.) Look up irrefrangible at
c. 1719, "that cannot be broken," from assimilated form of in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + refrangible.
irrefutable (adj.) Look up irrefutable at
1610s, from Latin irrefutabilis "irrefutable," from assimilated form of in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + refutabilis, from refutare (see refute). Related: Irrefutably; irrefutability.
irregardless Look up irregardless at
an erroneous word that, etymologically, means the opposite of what it is used to express. Attested in non-standard writing from at least 1870s (e.g. "Portsmouth Times," Portsmouth, Ohio, U.S.A., April 11, 1874: "We supported the six successful candidates for Council in the face of a strong opposition. We were led to do so because we believed every man of them would do his whole duty, irregardless of party, and the columns of this paper for one year has [sic] told what is needed."); probably a blend of irrespective and regardless. Perhaps inspired by the colloquial use of the double negative as an emphatic.
irregular (adj.) Look up irregular at
late 14c., "not in conformity with Church rules," from Old French irreguler (13c., Modern French irrégulier), from Medieval Latin irregularis, from assimilated form of in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + Latin regularis (see regular (adj.)). General sense is from late 15c.
irregular (n.) Look up irregular at
"a soldier not of the regular army," 1747, from irregular (adj.).