frus·​tra·​tion | \ (ˌ)frə-ˈstrā-shən How to pronounce frustration (audio) \

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

The same words that encapsulated the widespread excitement over Kelly’s hiring now express the growing frustrations over the five-year, $23.3-million nightmare unfolding at the Rose Bowl. Dylan Hernandez, Los Angeles Times, "Column: Under Chip Kelly, UCLA is making the wrong kind of history," 7 Sep. 2019 Thomas expressed confusion and frustration over the gap between the company’s stock price and its performance and value. Andre Meunier, oregonlive, "Widmer parent Craft Brew Alliance could be ‘blown up and rebuilt,’ CEO says," 5 Sep. 2019 Visitors commonly wait 45 minutes for rides, according to the document, and frustration over the shuttles has led to fiery exchanges between drivers and passengers, putting a black mark on many vacations. Kurtis Alexander,, "Yosemite’s review of park concessionaire Aramark slams it for poor service," 28 Aug. 2019 This all started when Booker and Joakim Noah exchanged words during a pickup game after Booker showed frustration over being doubled in the corner. Duane Rankin, azcentral, "Kevin Durant, Trae Young, Gilbert Arenas, Jalen Rose fuel Devin Booker double team debate," 23 Aug. 2019 The Republicans challenging Hunter expressed greater frustration with the trial delay and with the congressman. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Delay in Rep. Duncan Hunter’s criminal case puts crimp in GOP primary calendar," 22 Aug. 2019 Mounting frustration over student attentiveness led administrators at the school, which is about 20 miles south of San Francisco, to institute the new policy this school year, which kicked off earlier this month. Safia Samee Ali, NBC News, "A California high school found students' cellphones too distracting, so they're locking the devices up," 21 Aug. 2019 Sancho joined Dortmund from Man Utd's neighbours Man City in 2017 for a fee of around £9m, due to the youngster's frustration over the lack of first-team opportunities at the Etihad Stadium., "Manchester United Given Huge January Boost in Pursuit of €100m-Rated Star," 14 Aug. 2019 Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger left the company last fall amid frustrations over Zuckerberg’s control. Sarah Frier, Fortune, "Instagram Direct Is Being Rebuilt Using Facebook Messenger’s Technology," 7 Aug. 2019

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 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



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 How to pronounce frustration (audio) \

Kids Definition of frustration


frus·​tra·​tion | \ (ˌ)frəs-ˈtrā-shən How to pronounce frustration (audio) \

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 How to pronounce frustration (audio) \

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

What made you want to look up frustration? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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