tr.v. an·noyed, an·noy·ing, an·noys
1. To cause irritation to (another); make somewhat angry.
2. Archaic To harass or disturb by repeated attacks.
[Middle English anoien, from Old French anoier, ennuyer, from Vulgar Latin *inodiāre, to make odious, from Latin in odiō, odious : in, in; see IN-2 + odiō, ablative of odium, hatred; see od- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
Synonyms: annoy, irritate, bother, irk, vex, provoke, aggravate, peeve, rile
These verbs mean to disturb or trouble a person, evoking moderate anger. Annoy refers to mild disturbance caused by an act that tries one's patience: The sound of the printer annoyed me. Irritate is somewhat stronger: I was irritated by their constant interruptions. Bother implies imposition: In the end, his complaining just bothered the supervisor. Irk connotes a wearisome quality: The city council's inactivity irked the community. Vex applies to situations arousing irritation, frustration, or perplexity: They were vexed at having to wait so long for a response. This problem has vexed scientists for many years. Provoke implies strong and often deliberate incitement to anger: His behavior provoked me to reprimand the whole team. Aggravate is a less formal equivalent: "Threats only served to aggravate people in such cases" (William Makepeace Thackeray).
Peeve, also somewhat informal, suggests a querulous, resentful response to a mild disturbance: Your flippant answers peeved me. To rile is to upset and to stir up: It riled me to have to listen to such lies.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
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