an excessive display of anxious attention or activity; needless or useless bustle: They made a fuss over the new baby.
an argument or noisy dispute: They had a fuss about who should wash dishes.
a complaint or protest, especially about something relatively unimportant.

verb (used without object)

to make a fuss; make much ado about trifles: You'll never finish the job if you fuss over details.
to complain especially about something relatively unimportant.

verb (used with object)

to disturb, especially with trifles; annoy; bother.

Origin of fuss

First recorded in 1695–1705; origin uncertain
Related formsfuss·er, nounun·fussed, adjectiveun·fuss·ing, adjective

Synonyms for fuss

Antonyms for fuss

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

Examples from the Web for fussing

Contemporary Examples of fussing

Historical Examples of fussing

  • I did have the best time in college: dramatics and basket-ball and fussing and dancing—I'm simply crazy about dancing.

    Main Street

    Sinclair Lewis

  • Ah, she never kept you waiting a minute,—no fussing about gloves or fans or handkerchiefs.

  • Twill destroy me altogether to be fussing over every halfpenny.

    More about Pixie

    Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey

  • He spent the evening fussing over his guns and ammunition, determined to go to New York in the morning.

    The Business of Life

    Robert W. Chambers

  • But the idea of having a stranger about me, fussing and inquiring, is horrible.

    Despair's Last Journey

    David Christie Murray

British Dictionary definitions for fussing



nervous activity or agitation, esp when disproportionate or unnecessary
complaint or objectionhe made a fuss over the bill
an exhibition of affection or admiration, esp if excessivethey made a great fuss over the new baby
a quarrel; dispute


(intr) to worry unnecessarily
(intr) to be excessively concerned over trifles
(when intr, usually foll by over) to show great or excessive concern, affection, etc (for)
(intr foll by with) Jamaican to quarrel violently
(tr) to bother (a person)
Derived Formsfusser, noun

Word Origin for fuss

C18: of uncertain origin
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 fussing



1701, perhaps an alteration of force, or imitative of bubbling or sputtering sounds, or from Danish fjas "foolery, nonsense." First attested in Anglo-Irish writers, but no obvious connections to Irish. To make a fuss was earlier to keep a fuss (1726).



1792, from fuss (n.). Related: Fussed; fussing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with fussing


In addition to the idiom beginning with fuss

  • fuss and feathers

also see:

  • kick up a fuss
  • make a fuss
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.