1

bother

verb both·er \ ˈbä-t͟hər \
Updated on: 7 Dec 2017

Definition of bother

bothered; bothering play \ˈbät͟h-riŋ, ˈbä-t͟hə-\
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 1pain 4) : take the trouble
  • never bothered to ask

Examples of bother in a Sentence

  1. He's so easygoing. Nothing seems to bother him.

  2. Something he said at the meeting has been bothering me.

  3. The entire car trip was filled with complaints like, “Mom, David keeps bothering me!” and “Will you tell him to quit bothering me?”.

  4. Mother used to cook elaborate dinners, but with only herself to cook for, she doesn't bother anymore.

  5. “Should I call later?” “No, don't bother.”

  6. I'm not going to bother with the details.

Recent Examples of bother from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of bother

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 1pother, 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.

Synonym Discussion of bother

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

2

bother

noun

Definition of bother

1 a : 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

Examples of bother in a Sentence

  1. Replacing the windows could be more of a bother than it's worth.

  2. I know what a bother driving into the city can be this time of day.

  3. “Sorry to bother you.” “That's okay, it's no bother at all.”

  4. I considered replacing that part of the floor but decided it wasn't worth the bother.

  5. He doesn't want the bother of filling out all those forms again.

  6. Will you mail this for me? It will save me the bother of going to the post office.

Recent Examples of bother from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of bother

noun derivative of 1bother



BOTHER Defined for English Language Learners

bother

verb

Definition of bother for English Language Learners

  • : 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

Definition of bother for English Language Learners

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

  • : trouble or difficulty


BOTHER Defined for Kids

1

bother

verb both·er \ ˈbät͟h-ər \

Definition of bother for Students

bothered; bothering
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.

2

bother

noun

Definition of bother for Students

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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