nuisance

noun
nui·​sance | \ ˈnü-sᵊn(t)s How to pronounce nuisance (audio) , ˈnyü- \

Definition of nuisance

1 : harm, injury relieving the nuisance of poisonous fumes from rural factoriesCollier's Yr. Bk.
2 : one that is annoying, unpleasant, or obnoxious : pest My allergies are a nuisance in the springtime. Weeds are a nuisance to the gardener.

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What is an attractive nuisance?

Nuisance is a fine example of a word that has taken on a weakened meaning. It has been in use in English since the 15th century, and for much of that time signified "harm" or "injury" rather than mere "annoyance" (the word came into our language from French, but it can be traced back to the Latin nocēre, meaning “to harm”). In the early 19th century nuisance began to see considerable use in reference to people or things that were obnoxious rather than injurious, and that meaning has become the prevalent one. We retain evidence of the word’s earlier "harm" sense, however, in the legal term attractive nuisance, which refers to an enticing thing or condition (such as an unattended ladder leaning against a house) that might attract a child and cause them injury.

Examples of nuisance in a Sentence

the new neighbor is threatening to become a nuisance, dropping in on us several times a day folding up this map correctly is such a nuisance
Recent Examples on the Web Trickbot is a particularly robust internet nuisance. Frank Bajak, Star Tribune, "Microsoft attempts takedown of global criminal botnet," 12 Oct. 2020 The issue in the petition to the court was whether Indiana’s Right to Farm statute provides complete immunity for nuisance and trespass liability to confined feeding operations, and in doing so, violates the Takings Clause of the Constitution. Sarah Bowman, The Indianapolis Star, "U.S. Supreme Court rejects petition challenging Indiana's Right to Farm law," 7 Oct. 2020 The City of Madison Heights filed a complaint against Gary Sayers in 6th Circuit Court, asking the court to declare his properties a public nuisance and order several buildings demolished. Keith Matheny, Detroit Free Press, "Months later, I-696 'green ooze'-tied Detroit site still contaminated mess," 5 Oct. 2020 The small-leaved weed is spotted spurge, a widespread nuisance in the Northwest. oregonlive, "Is improper pruning responsible for non-blooming azalea? Ask an expert," 4 Oct. 2020 Add another case to the litany of court appearances for the D. B. Cooper’s Mansion owners as Harris County attorneys seek an injunction from a judge to force them to clean up the premises which officials say has become a public nuisance. David Taylor, Houston Chronicle, "Gentleman’s club back in court—again," 26 Sep. 2020 The real point of the neighborly introduction is to provide reasonable assurance that neither party will be a future nuisance. Judith Martin, Washington Post, "Miss Manners: Who makes the first neighborly move?," 26 Sep. 2020 City commissioners voted 4-1 Thursday to approve an ordinance that uses an existing state public nuisance law to give police the authority to issue up to a $500 ticket to violators, the Lawrence Journal-World reports. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Hemingway bar, abandoned dog, blueberry trouble: News from around our 50 states," 22 Sep. 2020 In August, Dino's Food Mart received a citation and order to vacate the premises from the city, with Louisville claiming the property was a public nuisance. Billy Kobin, The Courier-Journal, "Nephew of David McAtee killed in overnight shooting at 26th and Broadway, family says," 19 Sep. 2020

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for nuisance

Middle English nusaunce, noisaunce "harm, damage, (in law) cause of annoyance or inconvenience," borrowed from Anglo-French nusance, noisance, from nuis-, nois-, nus-, stem of nuire, nure, noisir, nuser "to injure, damage, vex" (going back to Latin nocēre "to injure, harm") + -ance -ance — more at noxious

Note: The meanings of Anglo-French nuire and nusance have been influenced by partially overlapping forms of noier "to annoy, vex," an aphetic form of anoier, ennoier (see annoy).

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Time Traveler for nuisance

Time Traveler

The first known use of nuisance was in the 15th century

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Statistics for nuisance

Last Updated

18 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Nuisance.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nuisance. Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for nuisance

nuisance

noun
How to pronounce nuisance (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of nuisance

: a person, thing, or situation that is annoying or that causes trouble or problems

nuisance

noun
nui·​sance | \ ˈnü-sᵊns How to pronounce nuisance (audio) , ˈnyü- \

Kids Definition of nuisance

: an annoying or troublesome person, thing, or situation

nuisance

noun
nui·​sance | \ ˈnüs-ᵊns, ˈnyüs- How to pronounce nuisance (audio) \

Legal Definition of nuisance

: something (as an act, object, or practice) that invades or interferes with another's rights or interests (as the use or enjoyment of property) by being offensive, annoying, dangerous, obstructive, or unhealthful
attractive nuisance
1 : a thing or condition on one's property that poses a risk to children who may be attracted to it without realizing the risk by virtue of their youth
2 : a doctrine or theory employed in most jurisdictions: a possessor of property may be liable for injury caused to a trespassing or invited child by a condition on the property if he or she failed to use ordinary care in preventing such injury (as by fencing in a pool) and had reason to foresee entry by the child and if the utility of the condition was minor compared to the likelihood of injury declined to extend the doctrine of attractive nuisance…to moving trainsHoneycutt v. City of Wichita, 796 P.2d 549 (1990)

Note: The doctrine of attractive nuisance originated in an 1873 U.S. Supreme Court case, Sioux City & Pacific Railroad Co. v. Stout, 84 U.S. 657 (1873), involving a trespassing child injured by a railroad turntable; an early premise was that the attractive nuisance caused the trespass, and so by extension the owner was responsible for the trespass as well. Subsequent modification of the doctrine has focused on the possessor's duty to use care in preventing injury, whether a child is a trespasser or invitee.

common nuisance
: public nuisance in this entry
nuisance at law
: nuisance per se in this entry
nuisance in fact
: an act, occupation, or structure that is considered a nuisance in relation to its circumstances or surroundings a lawful business may be a nuisance in fact in a particular location

called also nuisance per accidens

— compare nuisance per se in this entry
nuisance per se
: an act, occupation, or structure that is considered a nuisance regardless of its circumstances or surroundings a house of prostitution is a nuisance per se

called also nuisance at law

— compare nuisance in fact in this entry
private nuisance
: something (as an activity) that constitutes an unreasonable interference in the right to the use and enjoyment of one's property and that may be a cause of action in civil litigation
public nuisance
: something that unreasonably interferes with the health, safety, comfort, morals, or convenience of the community and that is treated as a criminal violation declared that the landfill was a present and prospective public nuisance and ordered…operations to ceaseSCA Servs. v. Transportation Ins. Co., 646 N.E.2d 394 (1995)

called also common nuisance

History and Etymology for nuisance

Anglo-French nusaunce, from Old French nuire to harm, from Latin nocēre

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