bother

verb
both·​er | \ ˈbä-t͟hər How to pronounce bother (audio) \
bothered; bothering\ ˈbät͟h-​riŋ How to pronounce bothering (audio) , ˈbä-​t͟hə-​ \

Definition of bother

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to annoy especially by petty provocation : irk It bothers her when people litter. bothered by the itchy tag on his shirt
2 : to intrude upon : pester Don't bother him when he's working.
3 : to cause to be somewhat anxious or concerned My stomach is bothering me. often used interjectionally Oh, bother!

intransitive verb

1 : to become concerned wouldn't bother with details
2 : to take pains (see pain entry 1 sense 4) : take the trouble never bothered to ask

bother

noun

Definition of bother (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a state of petty discomfort, annoyance, or worry when scenery gets mixed up with our personal bothers all the virtue goes out of it— Edith Wharton
b : something that causes petty annoyance or worry Fixing it would be too much of a bother. Sorry to be such a bother, but I need your help.
2 : fuss, inconvenience doesn't want the bother of filling out all the forms again

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Choose the Right Synonym for bother

Verb

annoy, vex, irk, bother mean to upset a person's composure. annoy implies a wearing on the nerves by persistent petty unpleasantness. their constant complaining annoys us vex implies greater provocation and stronger disturbance and usually connotes anger but sometimes perplexity or anxiety. vexed by her son's failure to clean his room irk stresses difficulty in enduring and the resulting weariness or impatience of spirit. careless waste irks the boss bother suggests interference with comfort or peace of mind. don't bother me while I'm reading

Examples of bother in a Sentence

Verb

He's so easygoing. Nothing seems to bother him. Something he said at the meeting has been bothering me. The entire car trip was filled with complaints like, “Mom, David keeps bothering me!” and “Will you tell him to quit bothering me?”. Mother used to cook elaborate dinners, but with only herself to cook for, she doesn't bother anymore. “Should I call later?” “No, don't bother.” I'm not going to bother with the details.

Noun

Replacing the windows could be more of a bother than it's worth. I know what a bother driving into the city can be this time of day. “Sorry to bother you.” “That's okay, it's no bother at all.” I considered replacing that part of the floor but decided it wasn't worth the bother. He doesn't want the bother of filling out all those forms again. Will you mail this for me? It will save me the bother of going to the post office.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But Camila is trying not to let that false familiarity bother her too much these days. Alanna Bennett, Teen Vogue, "Camila Mendes Is Taking It All in Stride," 1 May 2019 If lunges bother your knees, try skipping the traditional lunge. Amy Marturana, SELF, "18 Lunge Variations That Will Work Your Butt From Every Angle," 5 Apr. 2019 Much of its appeal comes from the fact that the art world is widely perceived as a stuffy landscape filled with composed and aloof characters who can’t be bothered to interact with laymen folks like us. Candice Frederick, Harper's BAZAAR, "Netflix's Velvet Buzzsaw Shouldn't Work—But It (Mostly) Does," 3 Feb. 2019 That’s the real meaning of the MAGA hats, which its wearers would explain if anyone bothered to ask. Daniel Henninger, WSJ, "Beyond MAGA Hats," 23 Jan. 2019 Web developers have historically only bothered with such trivia as standards compliance and as a way to test their pages in multiple browsers when the market landscape has forced them to. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Google isn’t the company that we should have handed the Web over to," 17 Dec. 2018 The anger provoked by the production had been visceral and swift as artists of all stripes asked why Mr. Lepage hadn’t bothered to hire more black actors and singers. Dan Bilefsky, New York Times, "Protests Shutter a Show That Cast White Singers as Black Slaves," 4 July 2018 And this theory would actually explain something that's been bothering me about season 8's trailer. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Is Arya's Reanimated Family What She's Running From In 'Game of Thrones'?," 19 Apr. 2019 Yasiel Puig was thrown out at third base to end the third, not even bothering to slide as he was tagged by Donaldson. Paul Newberry, The Seattle Times, "Roark roughed up in final spring tuneup for Reds," 25 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Netflix doesn’t have to go to all the bother of creating TV pilots the way networks do in order to figure out what its viewers want to see. Philip Delves Broughton, WSJ, "‘Subscribed’ Review: For a Flat Monthly Fee," 17 July 2018 Under current election law, people who didn’t register for parliamentary elections won’t be able to vote for president. Mohammad Karim, a 40-year-old resident of Kabul, didn’t bother and will now be shut out of the presidential vote. Ehsanullah Amiri, WSJ, "Afghanistan’s Elections Shrink in Face of Violence," 18 Oct. 2018 Mohammad Karim, a 40-year-old resident of Kabul, didn’t bother and will now be shut out of the presidential vote. Ehsanullah Amiri, WSJ, "Powerful Afghan Police Chief Killed in Taliban Attack; Top U.S. Commander Escapes," 18 Oct. 2018 People say politicians are frauds, so why even bother to vote. Jessica Militare, Glamour, "What's Next For America's Teacher Walkout Movement?," 27 Aug. 2018 Does a person incur the expense and bother of raising a family out of self-interest? Jeffrey Collins, WSJ, "‘Power, Pleasure, and Profit’ Review: Self-Mastery Versus Self-Interest," 5 Oct. 2018 Only 36 months more than the Soviet Union lasted, after all that bother? Karl Vick, Time, "Donald Trump Is Turning Davos Into a Globalist Throwdown," 25 Jan. 2018 The Phillies’ do-not-bother-asking list also likely includes Sixto Sanchez, the 19-year-old with the electric arm who is on the disabled list at high-A Clearwater. Bob Brookover, Philly.com, "Want Manny Machado on the Phillies? Don't get attached to prospects | Bob Brookover," 6 July 2018 She is survived by her son Adam D. Sharaf of Simsbury, her daughter Alison of Hartford, her two grandchildren Hannah Sharaf of New York and Benjamin of Massachusetts, her bother Bernie Spiegel and his wife Carol of Florida. Hartford Courant, courant.com, "Ruth M. Sharaf," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bother.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bother

Verb

circa 1745, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun

1761, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for bother

Verb

of obscure origin

Note: Early attestations strongly associate the word with Ireland, though if bother is authentically Hiberno-English, the interdental consonant must be secondary, perhaps by association with earlier pother entry 1, itself of obscure origin. A hypothetical link with Irish bodhar "deaf, confused" is improbable given that the internal dental consonant in Irish was lost by 1300.

Noun

noun derivative of bother entry 1

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Learn More about bother

Dictionary Entries near bother

Botha

Bothe

Bothell

bother

botherate

botheration

bothered

Statistics for bother

Last Updated

18 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bother

The first known use of bother was circa 1745

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More Definitions for bother

bother

verb

English Language Learners Definition of bother

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to cause (someone) to feel troubled, worried, or concerned
: to annoy (someone) : to cause (someone) to feel annoyed
: to take the time to do something : to make an effort to do something

bother

noun

English Language Learners Definition of bother (Entry 2 of 2)

: someone or something that is annoying or that causes trouble
: trouble or difficulty

bother

verb
both·​er | \ ˈbät͟h-ər How to pronounce bother (audio) \
bothered; bothering

Kids Definition of bother

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to trouble (someone) in body or mind : annoy bothered by flies
2 : to cause to worry Your illness bothers me.
3 : to take the time or trouble Don't bother to dress up.
4 : to intrude upon : interrupt Don't bother me while I'm on the phone.

bother

noun

Kids Definition of bother (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : someone or something that is annoying This project is such a bother.
2 : commotion The return of Mr. Bilbo Baggins created quite a disturbance … The legal bother, indeed, lasted for years.— J. R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
3 : a state of worry or annoyance It's not worth the bother.

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More from Merriam-Webster on bother

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bother

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bother

Spanish Central: Translation of bother

Nglish: Translation of bother for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bother for Arabic Speakers

Comments on bother

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