irritated; annoyed: vexed at the slow salesclerks.
much discussed or disputed: a vexed question.
tossed about, as waves.

Origin of vexed

late Middle English word dating back to 1400–50; see origin at vex, -ed2
Related formsvex·ed·ly [vek-sid-lee] /ˈvɛk sɪd li/, adverbvex·ed·ness, nounhalf-vexed, adjectiveun·vexed, adjective



verb (used with object)

to irritate; annoy; provoke: His noisy neighbors often vexed him.
to torment; trouble; distress; plague; worry: Lack of money vexes many.
to discuss or debate (a subject, question, etc.) with vigor or at great length: to vex a question endlessly without agreeing.
to disturb by motion; stir up; toss about.
to afflict with physical pain.

Origin of vex

1375–1425; late Middle English vexen < Old French vexer < Latin vexāre to shake, jolt, harass, annoy, frequentative of vehere to carry, convey
Related formsvex·er, nounvex·ing·ly, adverb

Synonyms for vex

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

Examples from the Web for vexed

Contemporary Examples of vexed

  • For weeks since our pilgrimage, the furious debate over the Ground Zero mosque has vexed me.

    The Daily Beast logo
    A Muslim Questions the Mosque

    Asra Q. Nomani

    August 10, 2010

Historical Examples of vexed

  • Master was vexed and anxious—almost angry, and yet full of solicitude.

    To be Read at Dusk

    Charles Dickens

  • "Mother, don't be vexed with a fellow," he said more gently.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • He was not vexed that he had made her cry, but vexed that she cried.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • Don't be vexed at what I say; I know you advise for my good; but you do not know how I feel in this matter.

    Life in London

    Edwin Hodder

  • He was vexed with the young volunteer and vexed with himself.

British Dictionary definitions for vexed



annoyed, confused, or agitated
much debated and discussed (esp in the phrase a vexed question)
Derived Formsvexedly (ˈvɛksɪdlɪ), adverbvexedness, noun


verb (tr)

to anger or annoy
to confuse; worry
archaic to agitate
Derived Formsvexer, nounvexing, adjectivevexingly, adverb

Word Origin for vex

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

mid-15c., past participle adjective from vex. Phrase vexed question attested from 1848.



early 15c., from Middle French vexer, from Latin vexare "to attack, harass, trouble," from vexus, collateral form of vectus, past participle of vehere "to draw, carry" (see vehicle). Related: Vexed; vexing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper