[ both-er ]
See synonyms for: botherbotheredbotheringbothers on

verb (used with object)
  1. to annoy; give trouble to; pester: His little sister kept bothering him for candy.

  2. to cause unease, anxiety, or worry in (someone): I hadn't realized how much being in a small boat bothers me until we got into choppy waters.

  1. to bewilder; confuse: His inability to understand the joke bothered him.

verb (used without object)
  1. to take the trouble; trouble or inconvenience oneself: Don't bother to call. He has no time to bother with trifles.

  1. something troublesome, burdensome, or annoying: Doing the laundry every week can be a terrible bother.

  2. effort, work, or worry: Gardening takes more bother than it's worth.

  1. a worried or perplexed state: Don't get into such a bother about small matters.

  2. someone or something that bothers or annoys: My cousin is a perpetual bother to me.

  1. Chiefly British. (used to express mild irritation.)

Origin of bother

First recorded in 1710–20; origin obscure; originally Hiberno-English; perhaps a hypercorrection of bodder, an alternative early form; perhaps a variant of pother

synonym study For bother

1. Bother, annoy, plague, tease imply persistent interference with one's comfort or peace of mind. Bother suggests causing trouble or weariness or repeatedly interrupting in the midst of pressing duties. To annoy is to vex or irritate by bothering. Plague is a strong word, connoting unremitting annoyance and harassment. To tease is to provoke or irritate persistently with petty distractions.

Other words for bother

Other words from bother

  • un·both·ered, adjective
  • un·both·er·ing, adjective

Words Nearby bother Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use bother in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for bother


/ (ˈbɒðə) /

  1. (tr) to give annoyance, pain, or trouble to; irritate: his bad leg is bothering him again

  2. (tr) to trouble (a person) by repeatedly disturbing; pester: stop bothering your father!

  1. (intr) to take the time or trouble; concern oneself: don't bother to come with me

  2. (tr) to make (a person) alarmed or confused: the thought of her husband's return clearly bothered her

  1. a state of worry, trouble, or confusion

  2. a person or thing that causes fuss, trouble, or annoyance

  1. informal a disturbance or fight; trouble (esp in the phrase a spot of bother)

  1. mainly British an exclamation of slight annoyance

Origin of bother

C18: perhaps from Irish Gaelic bodhar deaf, vexed; compare Irish Gaelic buairim I vex

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