- 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
SynonymsSee more synonyms for vex on Thesaurus.com
1. anger, irk, fret, nettle. 2. hector, harry, harass.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for vexing
If Paul Ryan visits communities to try to solve some of the most vexing problems facing our nation, will the media cover it?Paul Ryan Opens a Door to the Congressional Black Congress
May 2, 2014
The results are vexing, and increasingly dangerous as Moscow builds threats on the foundation of its own propaganda.On the Front Lines in Ukraine’s Info War
April 24, 2014
For liberals, the question of how to square this circle is a vexing one.How Did Rand Paul Become a Liberal Hero?
September 29, 2013
While the U.S. has struggled to address all of these elements, the most vexing has proven to be the political process.The U.S.’s ‘Yadda, Yadda, Yadda’ Doctrine for Syria
September 15, 2013
Curiously for such a liberal politician, gun control has always proven a vexing political issue for Barack Obama.Hillary Was Right: Obama’s Inexperience Sank Gun Deal
April 19, 2013
It was vexing to be boxed on the ears for a boy whom she had never looked in the face!The Fte At Coqueville
On the other hand, there would be some vexing formalities to go through.'Twixt Land & Sea
“O war chief, I think I will do that, if they speak of vexing me,” he said.
It was vexing his having moved round the corner, into North Street.All Roads Lead to Calvary
Jerome K. Jerome
Also, the subject of vocal registers is as vexing to-day as ever.The Child-Voice in Singing
Francis E. Howard
- to anger or annoy
- to confuse; worry
- archaic to agitate
C15: from Old French vexer, from Latin vexāre to jolt (in carrying), from vehere to convey
Word Origin and History for vexing
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper