annoying

[ uh-noi-ing ]
/ əˈnɔɪ ɪŋ /

adjective

causing annoyance; irritatingly bothersome: annoying delays.

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Origin of annoying

Middle English word dating back to 1325–75; see origin at annoy, -ing2

OTHER WORDS FROM annoying

Definition for annoying (2 of 2)

annoy
[ uh-noi ]
/ əˈnɔɪ /

verb (used with object)

to disturb or bother (a person) in a way that displeases, troubles, or slightly irritates.
to molest; harm.

verb (used without object)

to be bothersome or troublesome.

noun

Archaic. an annoyance.

Origin of annoy

1250–1300; (v.) Middle English an(n)oien, enoien < Anglo-French, Old French anoier, anuier to molest, harm, tire < Late Latin inodiāre to cause aversion, from Latin phrase mihi in odiō est … I dislike …; cf. in-2, odium, ennui, noisome; (noun) Middle English a(n)noi, ennoi < Anglo-French, Old French a(n)nui, etc., derivative of the v.

synonym study for annoy

1. See bother, worry.

OTHER WORDS FROM annoy

an·noy·er, nounhalf-an·noyed, adjectiveun·an·noyed, adjective

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH annoy

aggravate annoy irritate
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

BEHIND THE WORD

Where does annoying come from?

When something is annoying, it is irritating, bothersome, vexing, exasperating, or any of the many other English words describing things that cause annoyance. But would you call that same thing odious, that is, “hateful” or “disgusting”? Calling something that is merely annoying odious might be a little extreme, but etymologically speaking, it’s no stretch.

The adjective annoying, recorded in English around 1325–75, is based on the even older verb annoy. (See our entry at -ing for the nitty-gritty on that word element.) Annoy entered English around 1250–1300, borrowed from the French anoier, among other forms, and meaning “to molest, harm, tire.” This French verb is derived from the Late Latin inodiāre, “to cause aversion.”

The Latin verb inodiāre developed from the expression mihi in odiō est, meaning “I dislike.” A literal translation of this expression is “it is in hatred to me,” with in odiō meaning “in hatred.” Odiō is a form of odium, a word directly borrowed into English and meaning “dislike, aversion, hatred,” among other senses. An adjective form of odium in Latin was odiōsus, source of the English odious. And that’s how annoying is connected to odious.

Dig deeper

Another word related to annoying is noisome. Noisome is a tricky word because it looks similar to noisy, but the two do not share a common origin. Noisome means “offensive or disgusting, as an odor” or “harmful or injurious to health; noxious.”

Found in English around 1350–1400, noisome is based on the Middle English noy, a variant of annoy. The second part of the word, some, was once a very productive English suffix used to form adjectives, as in one of the synonyms for annoying we noted above: bothersome. Can you think of other words that feature the suffix –some?

Did you know ... ?

Have ever been so bored that it downright annoyed you? You may have experienced ennui. While feeling ennui is no fun, ennui is a great word—and, as we trust you already know, learning new words is a great way to cure ennui.

Ennui means “a feeling of utter weariness and discontent resulting from satiety or lack of interest”—or more generally, “boredom.” Ennui was borrowed directly into English from French, in turn from the same Latin roots as annoy.

Example sentences from the Web for annoying

British Dictionary definitions for annoying (1 of 2)

annoying
/ (əˈnɔɪɪŋ) /

adjective

causing irritation or displeasure

Derived forms of annoying

annoyingly, adverb

British Dictionary definitions for annoying (2 of 2)

annoy
/ (əˈnɔɪ) /

verb

to irritate or displease
to harass with repeated attacks

Derived forms of annoy

annoyer, noun

Word Origin for annoy

C13: from Old French anoier, from Late Latin inodiāre to make hateful, from Latin in odiō (esse) (to be) hated, from odium hatred
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