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

However, some fans were quick to jump on Twitter to vent their frustrations towards Karius, with many even begging Jurgen Klopp to replace the 25-year-old., "Liverpool Fans Furious as Loris Karius Makes Another Huge Mistake in Pre-Season Friendly," 11 July 2018 Meanwhile, Zach Davies is dealing with more frustration in his attempts to return to action. Todd Rosiak,, "Milwaukee Brewers place Moeller High School grad Brent Suter on 10-day disabled list," 7 July 2018 In response to their frustration, county commissioners froze values at the previous year’s levels for most homeowners. Arielle Kass, ajc, "Fulton County property value appeal deadline is Friday," 6 July 2018 Boehner resigned before that vote could be taken — citing his frustration with obstructionism. Emily L. Mahoney, miamiherald, "What does the Congressional voting record of this GOP candidate for governor tell us?," 5 July 2018 Drivers have turned to social media to express their frustration with not being able to review their charges and file expense reports. Skyler Swisher,, "SunPass users may see higher bill as delayed charges appear," 5 July 2018 The jubilant mood was also tinged with frustration. Alia E. Dastagir, USA TODAY, "Thousands in rainbow colors gather for New York City's gay pride parade," 24 June 2018 For Detectives Mois, Warner and the other investigators, the horror of these gut-wrenching murders would soon be paired with a deep frustration. CBS News, "Was revenge the motive behind Omaha stabbing deaths?," 2 June 2018 Lavrov's comments are likely to be met with frustration in Washington, where efforts are underway to convince North Korea to begin the process of nuclear disarmament ahead of the on-again off-again summit, tentatively scheduled for June 12. Steve George, CNN, "Russian foreign minister meets Kim Jong Un, calls for lifting of sanctions," 31 May 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

12 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for frustration

The first known use of frustration was circa 1555

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More Definitions for frustration



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


frus·tra·tion | \ ˌfrə-ˈstrā-shən \

Kids Definition of frustration


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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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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Comments on frustration

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the setting in which something occurs

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