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[veks] /vɛks/
verb (used with object)
to irritate; annoy; provoke:
His noisy neighbors often vexed him.
to torment; trouble; distress; plague; worry:
Lack of money vexes many.
to discuss or debate (a subject, question, etc.) with vigor or at great length:
to vex a question endlessly without agreeing.
to disturb by motion; stir up; toss about.
to afflict with physical pain.
Origin of vex
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English vexen < Old French vexer < Latin vexāre to shake, jolt, harass, annoy, frequentative of vehere to carry, convey
Related forms
vexer, noun
vexingly, adverb
1. anger, irk, fret, nettle. 2. hector, harry, harass.
1. delight. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for vexes
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But my younger daughter, Mrs General, rather worries and vexes my thoughts.

    Little Dorrit Charles Dickens
  • Oh, you know, my pet—I'm sorry if it vexes you—I loved that baby!

  • It's not the giving him the money that vexes me, but the knowledge that he must make a bad use of it.

  • If the child only were a boy there would be no need of Floyd marrying, and it vexes her.

    Floyd Grandon's Honor

    Amanda Minnie Douglas
  • That is what vexes me so terribly—to think it was my own fault!

    A Christmas Posy

    Mary Louisa Stewart Molesworth
  • But it looks to me rather as though——Well, we won't say any more about it since it vexes you.

    A True Friend Adeline Sergeant
  • How easily they put in practice the philosophy that vexes itself not about the future!

    The Island Home Richard Archer
  • It vexes you not to be the one always to give aid and comfort.

    Flint Maud Wilder Goodwin
  • If any one vexes her, she begins to cry; if pleased, she laughs.

British Dictionary definitions for vexes


verb (transitive)
to anger or annoy
to confuse; worry
(archaic) to agitate
Derived Forms
vexer, noun
vexing, adjective
vexingly, adverb
Word Origin
C15: from Old French vexer, from Latin vexāre to jolt (in carrying), from vehere to convey
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 vexes



early 15c., from Middle French vexer, from Latin vexare "to attack, harass, trouble," from vexus, collateral form of vectus, past participle of vehere "to draw, carry" (see vehicle). Related: Vexed; vexing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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