frustration

noun
frus·​tra·​tion | \ (ˌ)frə-ˈstrā-shən \

Definition of frustration 

1 : the act of frustrating the frustration of creative instinct is a notorious evil of the machine ageThe Times Literary Supplement (London)
2a : the state or an instance of being frustrated These bureaucratic delays have been causing us a lot of frustration.
b : a deep chronic sense or state of insecurity and dissatisfaction arising from unresolved problems or unfulfilled needs loneliness and frustration; those are two constant themes in American literature— Malcolm Cowley
3 : something that frustrates the government's frustrations with seemingly insoluble problems

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Examples of frustration in a Sentence

He shook his head in frustration. These bureaucratic delays have been causing us a lot of frustration. These delays have proven to be a major frustration. We've been experiencing a lot of frustrations. He was angry about the frustration of his plans.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Last month, a British cybersecurity official stormed out of a meeting with Huawei in frustration over the Chinese company’s perceived sluggishness at addressing the technical problems, a person familiar with the matter said. Stu Woo, WSJ, "Huawei Says Its Gear Is Safe; U.K. Officials Aren’t Sure Anymore," 23 Dec. 2018 But this particular flub is telling about progressive frustration over the double standard on military versus non-military spending, and also the fraught state of play regarding the push for a Medicare-for-all program. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "The $21 trillion Pentagon accounting error that can’t pay for Medicare-for-all, explained," 3 Dec. 2018 It should be noted that even in a world in which men’s frustrations over seeing women in leadership positions have the moral high ground, a faction of warlocks still manages to align themselves with a man who will bring about the end of days. Kelsea Stahler, Teen Vogue, "The Resurgence of Witches in Pop Culture Like Sabrina, AHS "Coven," and "Charmed" Reflects Women in the Real World," 14 Nov. 2018 Ivanka reportedly shut the company down due to frustrations over conflicts of interest and increased scrutiny. Megan Friedman, Town & Country, "The Rise and Fall of Ivanka Trump’s Fashion Line," 24 July 2018 The hearing was the first opportunity council members had to publicly and directly vent their frustrations to key people behind the negotiations. Shirin Ghaffary, Recode, "New York City council members railed against Amazon in the hope of renegotiating the HQ2 deal," 12 Dec. 2018 There’s obviously a lot of anger and frustration here toward the US government at the moment—along with side effects like bottled rage and sometimes a creeping sense of ineptitude or impotence about our ability to do anything about it. Corey Seymour, Vogue, "Pussy Riot's Nadya Tolokonnikova On Her New Guide To Activism, Raising The Next President Of Russia, And Her "Holy War" On Fairy Tales," 12 Oct. 2018 Others will swing to anger or frustration, which are contagiously negative. Sam Walker, WSJ, "The Two Contagious Behaviors of a Great Boss," 22 Sep. 2018 The disease is the anger and frustration and disappointment of the American people. Fox News, "Ken Langone on preventing Hurricane Florence price gouging," 12 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'frustration.' 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 frustration

circa 1555, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for frustration

Last Updated

3 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for frustration

The first known use of frustration was circa 1555

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More Definitions for frustration

frustration

noun

English Language Learners Definition of frustration

: a feeling of anger or annoyance caused by being unable to do something : the state of being frustrated

: something that causes feelings of anger and annoyance

: the fact of being prevented from succeeding or doing something

frustration

noun
frus·​tra·​tion | \ ˌfrə-ˈstrā-shən \

Kids Definition of frustration

frustration

noun
frus·​tra·​tion | \ (ˌ)frəs-ˈtrā-shən \

Medical Definition of frustration 

1 : a deep chronic sense or state of insecurity and dissatisfaction arising from unresolved problems or unfulfilled needs
2 : something that frustrates

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frustration

noun
frus·​tra·​tion | \ ˌfrəs-ˈtrā-shən \

Legal Definition of frustration 

1a : the act of frustrating
b : the state or an instance of being frustrated
c : something that frustrates
2 : a common-law doctrine of contract law: parties to a contract may be excused from performance even though performance is still possible if the reason for making the contract is partially or completely frustrated by a fortuitous event or by circumstances which are not the fault of either party

called also frustration of purpose, frustration of the venture

— compare cause sense 4, force majeure clause, impossibility, impracticability

Note: In order for frustration to be used as a successful defense to a breach of contract claim, the reason for making the contract must have been contemplated or recognized by both the contracting parties even though it was not expressed in the contract.

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