[ ahn-wee, ahn-wee; French ahn-nwee ]
/ ɑnˈwi, ˈɑn wi; French ɑ̃ˈnwi /


a feeling of utter weariness and discontent resulting from satiety or lack of interest; boredom: The endless lecture produced an unbearable ennui.

Nearby words

  1. ennius,
  2. ennius, quintus,
  3. ennoble,
  4. ennog,
  5. ennosigaeus,
  6. ennuied,
  7. eno,
  8. enoch,
  9. enoch arden,
  10. enoki

Origin of ennui

1660–70; < French: boredom; Old French enui displeasure; see annoy

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ennui

British Dictionary definitions for ennui


/ (ˈɒnwiː, French ɑ̃nɥi) /


a feeling of listlessness and general dissatisfaction resulting from lack of activity or excitement

Word Origin for ennui

C18: from French: apathy, from Old French enui annoyance, vexation; see annoy

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

Word Origin and History for ennui



1660s as a French word in English; nativized by 1758; from French ennui, from Old French enui "annoyance" (13c.), back-formation from enuier (see annoy). Hence ennuyé "afflicted with ennui;" ennuyée a woman so afflicted.

So far as frequency of use is concerned, the word might be regarded as fully naturalized; but the pronunciation has not been anglicized, there being in fact no Eng. analogy which could serve as a guide. [OED]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper