v. both·ered, both·er·ing, both·ers
1. To cause to be irritated, especially by repeated acts; trouble or annoy: “I spoke French badly. So I always replied to him in English. This didn't bother him” (Paul Theroux). See Synonyms at annoy.
2. To make agitated or perplexed; upset: “Jerry could see … how much the doctor had been bothered by the failure of the first surgery” (Rick Bass).
3. To intrude on without warrant or invitation; disturb: “When I saw him slumped in a chair, deep in thought, I decided not to bother him” (Pat Toomay).
4. To give discomfort or pain to: a back condition that bothers her constantly.
5. To take the trouble (to do something); concern oneself with (accomplishing something): “Most people [with the syndrome] have such mild symptoms that they never bother to see a doctor” (Jane E. Brody).
To take trouble; concern oneself: “old, hard-to-reach coal seams that were too complex or dangerous for other coal companies to bother with” (Jeff Goodell).
A cause or state of disturbance.
Used to express annoyance or mild irritation.
[Originally 18th-century Irish English bodder, bother, perhaps a variant of POTHER.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. 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:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.