adjective noi·some \ ˈnȯi-səm \
|Updated on: 19 Jun 2018

Definition of noisome

1 : noxious, harmful
  • a noisome pestilence
2 a : offensive to the senses and especially to the sense of smell
  • noisome garbage
b : highly obnoxious or objectionable
  • noisome habits





noisome was our Word of the Day on 09/26/2013. Hear the podcast!

Examples of noisome in a Sentence

  1. it's no fun having asthma and living in an area with noisome smog

  2. a noisome remark about my weight that stuck with me for days

Recent Examples of noisome from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'noisome.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

Noisome sounds like it might be a synonym of noisy, but it's not. Something noisome is disgusting, offensive, or harmful, often in its smell. Noisome does not come from "noise," but from the Middle English word noysome, which has the same meaning as noisome. The noy of noisome means "annoyance," and comes from Anglo-French anui, which also means "annoyance." (As you may have already guessed, the English words annoy and annoyance are also related to noisome.)

Origin and Etymology of noisome

Middle English noysome, from noy annoyance, alteration of anoi, from Anglo-French anui, from anuier to harass, annoy — more at annoy

Synonym Discussion of noisome

malodorous, stinking, fetid, noisome, putrid, rank, fusty, musty mean bad-smelling. malodorous may range from the unpleasant to the strongly offensive.
    • malodorous fertilizers
stinking and fetid suggest the foul or disgusting.
    • prisoners were held in stinking cells
    • the fetid odor of skunk cabbage
noisome adds a suggestion of being harmful or unwholesome as well as offensive.
    • a stagnant, noisome sewer
putrid implies particularly the sickening odor of decaying organic matter.
    • the putrid smell of rotting fish
rank suggests a strong unpleasant smell.
    • rank cigar smoke
fusty and musty suggest lack of fresh air and sunlight, fusty also implying prolonged uncleanliness, musty stressing the effects of dampness, mildew, or age.
    • a fusty attic
    • the musty odor of a damp cellar

NOISOME Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of noisome for English Language Learners

  • : very unpleasant or disgusting

Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


a lighting electrician on a movie set

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Eponym Quiz

  • rubens-painting
  • Which is the best synonym of bowdlerize?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!