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ennui

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noun en·nui \ˌän-ˈwē\

Simple Definition of ennui

  • : a lack of spirit, enthusiasm, or interest

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of ennui

  1. :  a feeling of weariness and dissatisfaction :  boredom

Examples of ennui in a sentence

  1. When the antiproton was discovered … it sent a wave of ennui through the physics community. Not that its discovery was unimportant, but on the basis of Dirac's theory, everybody expected it. —Roger G. Newton, The Truth of Science, 1997

  2. Chauncey and I were keen enough about our aesthetic solution to the ennui of war to try to proselytize others. He organized discussion groups with the crew; I took volunteers to visit landmarks … —Louis Auchincloss, “Atlantic War,” in Authors at Sea, ed. Robert Shenk, 1997

  3. The attendant outside was standing on tennis balls, exercising the soles of her feet, her body swaying back and forth with the ennui of jelly. —Edna O'Brien, New Yorker, 17 June 1991

  4. Thus the days of life are consumed, one by one, without an object beyond the present moment; ever flying from the ennui of that, yet carrying it with us … —Thomas Jefferson in a letter dated 7 Feb. 1787, Thomas Jefferson: Writings1984

  5. <the kind of ennui that comes from having too much time on one's hands and too little will to find something productive to do>



Did You Know?

The French loanword ennui comes from the very same Late Latin word that gave us annoyinodiare ("to make loathsome"). We borrowed ennui several centuries after absorbing annoy into the language. Ennui deals more with boredom than irritation - and a somewhat specific sort of boredom at that. It generally refers to the feeling of jadedness that can result from living a life of too much ease. The poet Charles Lloyd described it well in his 1823 Stanzas to Ennui when he referred to that world-weary sensation as a "soul-destroying fiend" which visits with its "pale unrest / The chambers of the human breast / Where too much happiness hath fixed its home."

Origin of ennui

French, from Old French enui annoyance, from enuier to vex, from Late Latin inodiare to make loathsome — more at annoy


First Known Use: 1732

Rhymes with ennui

ackee, Agee, agley, aiguille, agree, Albee, alee, ani, at sea, Attlee, Bacchae, bailee, Bangui, banshee, bargee, bawbee, bee tree, Belgae, big tree, bohea, bootee, bougie, break free, buckshee, burgee, Bt, callee, Capri, carefree, CB, CD, Chablis, Chaldee, chickpea, chili, church key, confit, cowpea, croquis, curie, dead-tree, debris, decree, deep-sea, degree, Denis, donee, DP, draftee, drawee, Dundee, emcee, esprit, etui, farci, feoffee, flame tree, foresee, for free, fringe tree, fusee, GB, germfree, glacis, goatee, grandee, grand prix, grantee, green tea, GT, heart-free, he/she, high sea, high tea, Horae, hot key, Humvee, IC, in fee, IV, Jaycee, jaygee, jayvee, Jiangxi, knock-knee, KP, latchkey, lessee, listee, look-see, low-key, LP, lychee, mamey, maquis, Marie, marquee, MC, mentee, Midi, mille-feuille, muggee, must-see, Nancy, ngwee, North Sea, OD, off-key, ogee, Osee, Parcae, pardie, Parsi, passkey, Pawnee, payee, PC, Pee Dee, peewee, pewee, PG, pledgee, pollee, pongee, post-free, précis, puree, puttee, qt, raki, rani, razee, Red Sea, rooftree, Ross Sea, rupee, rushee, RV, scot-free, settee, Shaanxi, shade tree, Shanxi, s/he, shift key, shoe tree, sightsee, signee, silk tree, sirree, smoke tree, snap pea, snow pea, spadille, spahi, spondee, squeegee, standee, state tree, strophe, suttee, sweat bee, sycee, TB, tepee, testee, 3-D, titi, to-be, toll-free, topee, to sea, towhee, townee, trainee, Tralee, trochee, trustee, Tupi, turfski, turnkey, tutee, Tutsi, tutti, TV, unbe, vendee, vestee, Volsci, vouchee, whangee, whoopee, wind tee, would-be, Yangtze, yen-shee



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