\ ˈveks \
vexed also vext\ˈvekst \; vexing

Definition of vex 

transitive verb

1a : to bring trouble, distress, or agitation to the restaurant is vexed by slow service

b : to bring physical distress to a headache vexed him all morning

c : to irritate or annoy by petty provocations : harass vexed by the children

d : puzzle, baffle a problem to vex the keenest wit

2 : to shake or toss about

Keep scrolling for more

Choose the Right Synonym for vex

annoy, vex, irk, bother mean to upset a person's composure. annoy implies a wearing on the nerves by persistent petty unpleasantness. their constant complaining annoys us vex implies greater provocation and stronger disturbance and usually connotes anger but sometimes perplexity or anxiety. vexed by her son's failure to clean his room irk stresses difficulty in enduring and the resulting weariness or impatience of spirit. careless waste irks the boss bother suggests interference with comfort or peace of mind. don't bother me while I'm reading

Examples of vex in a Sentence

This problem has vexed researchers for years. We were vexed by the delay.

Recent Examples on the Web

Steven Brill agrees that the country’s in bad shape and its people are vexed by it. Barton Swaim, WSJ, "Politics: Postcards From a ‘Collapsing Country’," 15 June 2018 Pompeo's predecessor, Rex Tillerson, was also vexed by the incidents and launched an Accountability Review Board to review the occurrences in Cuba. Laura Koran, CNN, "Pompeo forms task force in response to so-called 'sonic attacks'," 5 June 2018 Four of those have come against the Cavs, who have designed a defense that continues to vex him. Chris Fedor,, "Cleveland Cavaliers have frustrated DeMar DeRozan, taken him out of series," 6 May 2018 The complicated matters of immigration reform and border enforcement have vexed U.S. presidents for at least two generations., "A migrant child’s days in detention included cleaning toilets," 14 July 2018 Ambiguous current economics and lack of familiarity make the task of replacing home fossil fuels particularly vexing. David Roberts, Vox, "Most American homes are still heated with fossil fuels. It’s time to electrify.," 2 July 2018 For most of the top players at Wimbledon, that means their next tournament will feature the serve clock, which is intended to improve the pace of play, an issue that has vexed many sports. Karen Crouse, New York Times, "Tennis Players Get Ready to Be Put on the Clock (Visibly)," 11 July 2018 The issue vexed metallurgists for two decades, until a 25-year-old British police clerk and amateur chemist, Sidney Gilchrist Thomas, found a solution to the phosphorus problem. Jonathan Schifman, Popular Mechanics, "The Entire History of Steel," 9 July 2018 The true answer to the RB/WR question that has vexed fantasy owners in recent years turns out to be a liberating question: Who cares? Michael Beller,, "Draft RB or WR in the First Round? That Question Is Far From Simple for Fantasy Football Owners," 2 July 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of vex

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for vex

Middle English, from Anglo-French vexer, from Latin vexare to agitate, harry; probably akin to Latin vehere to convey — more at way

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about vex

Dictionary Entries near vex








Statistics for vex

Last Updated

10 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for vex

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for vex



English Language Learners Definition of vex

: to annoy or worry (someone)


\ ˈveks \
vexed; vexing

Kids Definition of vex

1 : to bring trouble, distress, or worry to “It is an excellent plan to have some place where we can go to be quiet, when things vex or grieve us.” —Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

2 : to annoy by small irritations Flies vexed the cows.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on vex

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


the setting in which something occurs

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

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!