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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. See hateful.
1. delightful. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for obnoxiousness
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • For the latter tends to confirm and sanction the dualism in all its obnoxiousness.

  • Mr. Pope tells me that I am dead, and that this obnoxiousness is the reward for my inoffensiveness in my former life.

  • It spreads until a Negro is lynched for chicken stealing, or for mere “obnoxiousness.”

    Following the Color Line Ray Stannard Baker
  • When we were mining, we lived in separate tents, so as not to intrude our obnoxiousness on each other.

    Rolling Stones

    O. Henry
British Dictionary definitions for obnoxiousness


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 obnoxiousness



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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