nuisance

noun nui·sance \ ˈnü-sᵊn(t)s , ˈnyü- \

Definition of nuisance

1 :harm, injury
  • relieving the nuisance of poisonous fumes from rural factories
  • Collier'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.

Examples of nuisance in a Sentence

  1. the new neighbor is threatening to become a nuisance, dropping in on us several times a day

  2. folding up this map correctly is such a nuisance

Recent Examples of nuisance from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of nuisance

Middle English nusaunce, noisaunce, from Anglo-French, from nuisir, nuire to harm, from Latin nocēre — more at noxious

nuisance Synonyms



NUISANCE Defined for English Language Learners

nuisance

noun

Definition of nuisance for English Language Learners

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


NUISANCE Defined for Kids

nuisance

noun nui·sance \ ˈnü-sᵊns , ˈnyü- \

Definition of nuisance for Students

:an annoying or troublesome person, thing, or situation

Law Dictionary

nuisance

noun nui·sance \ ˈnüs-ᵊns, ˈnyüs- \

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 trains
  • Honeycutt 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 cease
  • SCA Servs. v. Transportation Ins. Co., 646 N.E.2d 394 (1995)
called also common nuisance

Origin and Etymology of nuisance

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



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