View synonyms for vex


[ veks ]

verb (used with object)

  1. to irritate; annoy; provoke:

    His noisy neighbors often vexed him.

    Synonyms: nettle, fret, irk, anger

    Antonyms: delight

  2. to torment; trouble; distress; plague; worry:

    Lack of money vexes many.

    Her arthritis vexed her all night.

    Synonyms: harass, harry, hector

  3. to confuse or bewilder; confound:

    The formula vexes most of our students at first.

  4. to discuss or debate (a subject, question, etc.) with vigor or at great length:

    They vexed the question endlessly without agreeing.

  5. to disturb by motion; stir up; toss about.


/ vɛks /


  1. to anger or annoy
  2. to confuse; worry
  3. archaic.
    to agitate

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Derived Forms

  • ˈvexingly, adverb
  • ˈvexing, adjective
  • ˈvexer, noun
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Other Words From

  • vex·er noun
  • vex·ing adjective
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Word History and Origins

Origin of vex1

First recorded in 1375–1425; late Middle English vexen, from Old French vexer, from Latin vexāre “to shake, jolt, harass, annoy,” frequentative of vehere “to carry, convey”
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Word History and Origins

Origin of vex1

C15: from Old French vexer, from Latin vexāre to jolt (in carrying), from vehere to convey
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Example Sentences

That makes the planning underway in Alabama a window into the problems also vexing other states.

The problem has vexed scientists for more than 150 years, ever since Darwin famously mulled the “tangled bank” in On the Origin of Species.

This is effectively windfall money for these counties and it’s long vexed the prosecutorial community.

When looking at the overall affect of pods, it is hard not to see how they will exacerbate the pre-existing inequities and achievement gaps that already vex public schools.

Councilwoman Jen Campbell announced Wednesday a proposal to regulate short-term vacation rentals in San Diego, the latest attempt to solve an issue that’s vexed City Hall for years.

The title of the Donne poem is “Oh, to Vex Me, Contraries Meet as One.”

Please torment, harass, vex, heckle, and badger those two blockheads until they honor their commitments to my defense fund.

I do not intend to vex or grieve you by any conduct of mine; nor do I mean to leave you, now you are both infirm and old.

I didn't mean to vex you, dear Margaret; I like nothing so well, only we are never alone, and I've no time.

In comes Will Joyce to us drunk, and in a talking vapouring humour of his state, and I know not what, which did vex me cruelly.

Oh dear, if she has written so as to vex Aunt Alison, and we get blamed for it, and everything is spoilt!'

"No, Adolphe tries to vex me, he's going slower," says the young wife to her mother.