This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Sunday Rest: Word Not To Use Today: irk.


Excuse you.

Really, you know, unless you live in a part of the world where belching is good manners, the word irk is safest avoided, especially at the dinner table.

Even the river Irk in Manchester has long been best avoided. Friedich Engels certainly didn't think much of it: "a narrow, coal-black, foul-smelling stream, full of debris and refuse", he said, though I understand there's a plan to clean it up a bit, now. I hope it turns out beautifully, but it's hard to believe that anything called the Irk will ever be genuinely picturesque.

Still, you have to admit that irk does what it says on the tin. It means to irritate, vex, or annoy and it does that brilliantly.


Word Not To Use Today: irk. Irken, meaning to grow weary, appeared in English in the 1200s. Before that it probably came from the Old Norse yrkja, to work.

1 comment:

  1. Yup! IRK does what it says on the tin! I like IRKSOME too.