from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To cause slight irritation to (another) by troublesome, often repeated acts.
  • transitive v. Archaic To harass or disturb by repeated attacks.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To disturb or irritate, especially by continued or repeated acts; to bother with unpleasant deeds.
  • v. To do something to upset or anger someone; to be troublesome.
  • v. To molest; to harm; to injure.
  • n. A feeling of discomfort or vexation caused by what one dislikes.
  • n. That which causes such a feeling.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A feeling of discomfort or vexation caused by what one dislikes; also, whatever causes such a feeling.
  • transitive v. To disturb or irritate, especially by continued or repeated acts; to tease; to ruffle in mind; to vex
  • transitive v. To molest, incommode, or harm.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To be hateful or troublesome: followed by to.
  • [By omission of reflexive pronoun.] To be troubled, disquieted, vexed.
  • To be hateful, troublesome, or vexatious to; trouble, disquiet, disturb, vex, molest, harass, plague; irk, weary, bore, especially by repeated acts: as, to annoy a person by perpetual questioning; to annoy the enemy by raids: in the passive, followed by at or about, formerly by of.
  • Synonyms Molest, Plague, etc. (see tease), trouble, disturb, disquiet, vex, irritate, fret, embarrass, perplex.
  • n. A disturbed state of feeling arising from displeasing acts or unpleasant circumstances; discomfort; vexation; trouble; annoyance.
  • n. A thing or circumstance that causes discomfort; an annoyance.
  • n. [Now chiefly poetic; the common word in prose is annoyance.]

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. cause annoyance in; disturb, especially by minor irritations


Middle English anoien, from Old French anoier, ennuyer, from Vulgar Latin *inodiāre, to make odious, from Latin in odio, odious : in, in; see in-2 + odiō, ablative of odium, hatred; see od- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English annoien, anoien, enoien, from Anglo-Norman anuier, Old French enuier ("to molest, harm, tire"), from Late Latin inodiō ("cause aversion, make hateful", vb.), from the phrase in odiō ("hated"), from Latin odium ("hatred"). Displaced native Middle English grillen ("to annoy, irritate"), from Old English grillan (see grill). (Wiktionary)



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  • "Today, the meaning of annoy is mild – 'vex, irritate'. But when the word first came into English from French in the fourteenth century, it had a much stronger sense – 'to be hateful or odious' to someone. By the time of the Civil War it had developed meanings of 'injure, harm', especially in a military context."
    David Crystal, By Hook Or By Crook, p 214

    December 20, 2008