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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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for vexes
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • If it vexes you my thinking it, I won't, dear; I reelly won't.

    Rhoda Fleming, Complete George Meredith
  • How easily they put in practice the philosophy that vexes itself not about the future!

    The Island Home Richard Archer
  • Thou knowest the paths before us; the darkness that vexes us is as the light of the midday sun to thee.

    Jewels of Gwahlur Robert E. Howard
  • But my younger daughter, Mrs General, rather worries and vexes my thoughts.

    Little Dorrit Charles Dickens
  • You will call me Thor the puny little fellow, which vexes me more than anything; for I have not been wont to blush at my name.

    In The Days of Giants Abbie Farwell Brown
  • Oh, you know, my pet—I'm sorry if it vexes you—I loved that baby!

  • That is what vexes me, for I was looking forward to a good round bellyfull, and now I have to do without it.

    The Flying Doctor Jean Baptiste Poquelin de Molire
  • It's not the giving him the money that vexes me, but the knowledge that he must make a bad use of it.

  • I showed no indiscreet eagerness, knowing that even a look, at certain moments, vexes him.

    The Bird Jules Michelet
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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