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  1. causing vexation; troublesome; annoying: a vexatious situation.
  2. Law. (of legal actions) instituted without sufficient grounds and serving only to cause annoyance to the defendant.
  3. disorderly; confused; troubled.

Origin of vexatious

First recorded in 1525–35; vexati(on) + -ous
Related formsvex·a·tious·ly, adverbvex·a·tious·ness, nounnon·vex·a·tious, adjectivenon·vex·a·tious·ly, adverbnon·vex·a·tious·ness, nounun·vex·a·tious, adjectiveun·vex·a·tious·ly, adverbun·vex·a·tious·ness, noun

Synonyms for vexatious

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Antonyms for vexatious Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for vexatious

Contemporary Examples of vexatious

Historical Examples of vexatious

  • At last the vexatious work was finished, and he was free again.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • I was still wrestling with this vexatious question when I came to my mother's house.

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

  • It is too long to write—and too vexatious” (this word was half erased), “troublesome.

    The First Violin

    Jessie Fothergill

  • It's vexatious, when one has the wherewithal to pay for wetting his whistle!

    The Downfall

    Emile Zola

  • To Wellington this was perhaps the most vexatious of all things in that vexatious time.

    The Snare

    Rafael Sabatini

British Dictionary definitions for vexatious


  1. vexing or tending to vex
  2. vexed
  3. law (of a legal action or proceeding) instituted without sufficient grounds, esp so as to cause annoyance or embarrassment to the defendantvexatious litigation
Derived Formsvexatiously, adverbvexatiousness, noun
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 vexatious

1530s; see vexation + -ous. Related: Vexatiously; vexatiousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper