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/ əˈnɔɪ ɪŋ /
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See synonyms for: annoying / annoyingly on Thesaurus.com

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


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does annoying mean?

Annoying is an adjective that’s used to describe someone or something that annoys you—bothers or irritates you.

The word implies that the resulting irritation does not rise to the level of serious harm or a major problem—even if someone or something is extremely annoying.

People who are annoying are usually engaging in some kind of irritating and unwanted behavior (especially when it’s repeated), such as chewing too loudly or asking you the same question over and over again. Things that are annoying are often those that distract, interrupt, or intrude on what you’re trying to do, like a noise that keeps waking you up when you’re trying to fall asleep or a pop-up ad.

Someone or something that’s annoying can be called an annoyance. The adjective annoyed is used to describe someone who is bothered in this way.

Example: Mom, Jeff is being so annoying! He keeps humming!

Where does annoying come from?

The first records of the word annoying as an adjective come from the 1300s. Its base word, annoy, comes from the Old French anoier, meaning “to tire” or “to harm.” This term derived from the Late Latin verb inodiāre, which means “to cause aversion” and itself comes from the Latin phrase mihi in odiō est, meaning “I dislike.”

People and things that are annoying are doing something that you dislike—something that bothers you. Still, it’s usually something minor and not truly harmful. Annoying has a lot of synonyms that can be used in all kinds of annoying situations, including irritating, bothersome, aggravating, vexatious, irksome, exasperating.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to annoying?

What are some synonyms for annoying?

What are some words that share a root or word element with annoying


What are some words that often get used in discussing annoying?


How is annoying used in real life?

Annoying is a very common word that can be used in all kinds of contexts. It’s always used negatively.



Try using annoying!

Which of the following words is a synonym of annoying?

A. bothersome
B. irksome
C. aggravating
D. all of the above


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.

How to use annoying in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for annoying

/ (əˈnɔɪɪŋ) /

causing irritation or displeasure

Derived forms of annoying

annoyingly, adverb
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