the relatively malignant. “What is?” you say. “The word ‘irk'” I say.
Here’s a definition of the word irk, including synonyms –
verb: irk; 3rd person present: irks; past tense: irked; past participle: irked; gerund or present participle: irking
Irritate; annoy. “it irks her to think of the runaround she received”
Synonyms: irritate, annoy, gall, pique, nettle, exasperate, try someone’s patience; anger, infuriate, madden, incense, get on someone’s nerves; antagonize, provoke;
Informal: get someone’s dander up, ruffle someone’s feathers, make someone’s hackles rise; rub the wrong way, get (someone’s goat), get/put someone’s back up, make someone’s blood boil, peeve, miff, frost, rile, aggravate, needle, get to, bug, drive mad/crazy, tee off, tick off, piss off, PO, rankle, ride, drive up the wall, make someone see red.
Somehow we go from annoy to infuriate. I think that is quite a leap. Even annoy seems a bit strong to me. If I say something irks me, I’m feeling mildly annoyed, not even enough to linger on it, much less be infuriated. If I’m infuriated then, hunny-bunny, steam is coming out of my ears!
We all have such personal relationships with words, don’t we?