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[uh b-nok-shuh s] /əbˈnɒk ʃəs/
highly objectionable or offensive; odious:
obnoxious behavior.
annoying or objectionable due to being a showoff or attracting undue attention to oneself:
an obnoxious little brat.
Archaic. exposed or liable to harm, evil, or anything objectionable.
Obsolete. liable to punishment or censure; reprehensible.
Origin of obnoxious
1575-85; < Latin obnoxiōsus harmful, equivalent to ob- ob- + noxiōsus noxious
Related forms
obnoxiously, adverb
obnoxiousness, noun
unobnoxious, adjective
unobnoxiously, adverb
1. delightful. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for obnoxious
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "That is not obnoxious either, I hope," said Ormond, laughing.

  • If he acts in good faith he is not obnoxious to punishment--but entitled to compensation?

    Freeland Theodor Hertzka
  • "Bon jour, monsieur," said the captain in a tone of obnoxious pleasantry.

    The Inn at the Red Oak Latta Griswold
  • As for the picture post-cards, it displeased him greatly that they had been obnoxious.

  • She was incessantly imploring her son to drive off these obnoxious neighbors.

    Henry IV, Makers of History John S. C. Abbott
British Dictionary definitions for obnoxious


extremely unpleasant
(obsolete) exposed to harm, injury, etc
Derived Forms
obnoxiously, adverb
obnoxiousness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin obnoxius, from ob- to + noxa injury, from nocēre to harm
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for obnoxious

1580s, "subject to the authority of another," from Latin obnoxiosus "hurtful, injurious," from obnoxius "subject, exposed to harm," from ob "to, toward" (see ob-) + noxa "injury, hurt, damage entailing liability" (see noxious). Meaning "subject to something harmful" is 1590s; meaning "offensive, hateful" is first recorded 1670s, influenced by noxious.

Obnoxious has two very different senses, one of which (exposed or open or liable to attack or injury) requires notice because its currency is now so restricted that it is puzzling to the uninstructed. It is the word's rightful or de jure meaning, and we may hope that scholarly writers will keep it alive. [Fowler]
Related: Obnoxiously; obnoxiousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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