bother

verb
both·​er | \ ˈbä-t͟hər How to pronounce bother (audio) \
bothered; bothering\ ˈbät͟h-​riŋ How to pronounce bother (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 3) : 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

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 He was sometimes criticized as a composer of unhummable songs, a badge that didn’t bother Sondheim. Mark Kennedy, Anchorage Daily News, 27 Nov. 2021 He was sometimes criticized as a composer of unhummable songs, a badge that didn't bother him. Arkansas Online, 27 Nov. 2021 He was sometimes criticized as a composer of unhummable songs, a badge that didn’t bother Sondheim. Mark Kennedy, ajc, 26 Nov. 2021 He was sometimes criticized as a composer of unhummable songs, a badge that didn’t bother Sondheim. Mark Kennedy, chicagotribune.com, 26 Nov. 2021 Woods said Garrett’s comments didn’t bother him and his door is always open to his players. Dan Labbe, cleveland, 18 Nov. 2021 Quentin came back into the kitchen for a bag of chips, and not a lunchbox-size bag but a large one—meaning, Don’t bother me. Gish Jen, The New Yorker, 15 Nov. 2021 Rodriguez said fighting Burgos on short notice doesn’t bother him. John Whisler, San Antonio Express-News, 15 Oct. 2021 All-Pro said his injuries bother him most before kickoff. BostonGlobe.com, 9 Oct. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Those harboring this mindset neglect to examine trading histories and economic trends, which require some bother. Larry Light, Fortune, 14 Oct. 2021 While Mudge’s mom, dad and bother were in attendance for the tournament, others from Winter Springs and the surrounding area cheered from afar with great pride through text messages and while gathered at a local restaurant during games. J.c. Carnahan, orlandosentinel.com, 14 June 2021 Everything in between is bearable, if only by comparison, but not particularly worth the bother. Joe Leydon, Variety, 15 Oct. 2021 But the editorial board dismisses this as not worth the bother. WSJ, 9 Sep. 2021 Even a simple question about The Many Saints of Newark is damning: Would a non-Sopranos viewer bother watching it? David Sims, The Atlantic, 28 Sep. 2021 His first restaurant, Valette, opened with his bother Aaron Garzini six years ago, has become one of those places that takes reservations several weeks in advance. Beck Bamberger, Forbes, 19 Sep. 2021 From the first tournament in 1974, the antepenultimate hole on the course designed and built by Nicklaus wasn't much of a bother. Steve Dimeglio, USA TODAY, 5 June 2021 If — one is — going to have a fight with somebody else — why bother and — have a meeting? NBC News, 14 June 2021

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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Time Traveler for bother

Time Traveler

The first known use of bother was circa 1745

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Dictionary Entries Near bother

Bothell

bother

botherate

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Statistics for bother

Last Updated

30 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Bother.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bother. Accessed 5 Dec. 2021.

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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 : inconvenience

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.

More from Merriam-Webster on bother

Nglish: Translation of bother for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bother for Arabic Speakers

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