Origin of ennui
Words nearby ennui
What does ennui mean?
Put simply, ennui is a French word that describes feelings associated with boredom.
Where does ennui come from?
The word ennui comes from an old French word meaning “profound sadness, chagrin, or disgust.” Among French speakers, ennui can also refer to “disagreeableness.” It comes from a Latin word that also gives us the word annoy.
Like in French, ennui became used in English to describe a feeling of discontent almost as if it was an actual object. It usually has a kind of wistful listlessness.
How is ennui used in real life?
Ennui, as a fancy word for “boredom,” implies discontent and angst. It is often used as if a person were describing an illness, as in “I’m suffering from ennui.” It’s a tricky word to define in English—probably because it comes from French.
Hi I'm Stu and I have PTSD that leads to bouts of depression and ennui. Tonight is one of those nights. You're not alone in your feelings. We are all in this together.
— Wombat Medic (@CallMeCookie) October 1, 2018
Cilantro divides us. But can we not understand that all good has become something that is attached to both ennui and anger- why don’t we simply accept one another’s cilantro preference and then work towards a centrist peanut butter driven economy?
— t.j. miller (@nottjmiller) October 1, 2018
More examples of ennui:
“The prospect of being with your significant other forever. Does it sound like eternal bliss? Or a recipe for soul-crushing ennui?”
—Brad Newsome, The Sydney Morning Herald, September, 2018
This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.
How to use ennui in a sentence
Bored teenagers dealing with the world at large may have more devices in-hand now, but that tumult of emotions and ennui remains the same.Saint Etienne looks to the past but limits the nostalgia|Andy Beta|September 10, 2021|Washington Post
We meet characters who are going about their days and feeling, you know, normal levels of ennui.
Historically, with the possible exception of cars, Americans have approached made-in-America shopping with a large degree of ennui.
The ennui of endless days, week and months at home is understandable.As stay-at-home restrictions rise, here are ways to cope|Washington Post Staff, Elizabeth Chang, Mari-Jane Williams, Becky Krystal, Kendra Nichols, Caitlin Moore, Stephanie Merry, Missy Rosenberg, Katherine Lee|December 2, 2020|Washington Post
Consumed and eventually disgorged, Pierre is restored to his loving parents, his ennui banished.
The Great American Novel became more concerned with sexual shenanigans and suburban ennui, or rehashing World War II.
Even with all her comforts and a constant, tugging ennui, Mei knows the risks that she faces as an ernai.China’s Concubine Culture Lives On in Mistress Villages|Brendon Hong|April 14, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The shenanigans of Intimacy will shake any jaded theater fan from nudity ennui.New York’s Naughtiest Show (Maybe Avoid the Front Row)|Tim Teeman|January 18, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Gabe tried to kick his postmodern, adolescent sense of ennui (a “lame” feeling) through members of the opposite sex (“dames”).The Best Lyrics From Daniel Day-Lewis’s Son’s Rap Song|Amy Zimmerman|November 20, 2013|DAILY BEAST
It was not a condition of life which fitted her, and she could see in it but an appalling and hopeless ennui.The Awakening and Selected Short Stories|Kate Chopin
It combats ennui, lassitude, and intolerable vacuity, soothing the nerves and diverting attention from self.
The sight of them not only fills me with ennui, but I have no intention of presenting your comic papers with material.
She's handsome yet, but her muscles are getting that loose look and her eyes are bottomless pits of ennui.
Ennui is a word one hears constantly; if it rains toute le monde est triste.The Real Latin Quarter|F. Berkeley Smith