Word: irascible

Pronunciation: i-RA-sə-bəl

Part of Speech: adjective

Definition: having or showing a tendency to be easily angered

Source: Oxford Dictionaries

Today’s vocabulary post features one of those words that I need to look up almost every time I see them, because I just don’t come across them often enough to memorize their definitions. The last time I came across the word “irascible” was in this lovely tribute from the Walt Disney Company to the late Robin Williams. The sweetness of the statement (and my sadness over his passing) aside, the word “irascible” caught my eye for two reasons: first, I wasn’t sure I remembered exactly what it meant; and second, if it meant what I thought it did, I wasn’t sure it really applied to the Genie from Aladdin. It may be a while since I’ve watched the movie, but I don’t remember him being the irritable type…

An “irascible” person is someone who is easily irritated or angered. The word comes from the Latin adjective irascibilis, which contains the root verb irasci, meaning “to become angry”. These words stem from the noun ira, which means “anger” or “rage”.

In my opinion, “irascible” reads as a poetic synonym for “irritable”. I have yet to work it into my own writing, but I could definitely have used it in my past stories to describe some of my more short-tempered characters. If your characters have a tendency to snap at any given moment, you may want to consider using this word in your stories. If nothing else, describing them as “irascible” may be the most poetic way to define their bad tempers!

What are your thoughts on this word? Any suggestions for future “Word of the Week” featured words?

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