vexed also vext ˈvekst How to pronounce vex (audio) ; vexing

transitive verb

: to bring trouble, distress, or agitation to
the restaurant is vexed by slow service
: to bring physical distress to
a headache vexed him all morning
: to irritate or annoy by petty provocations : harass
vexed by the children
: puzzle, baffle
a problem to vex the keenest wit
: to shake or toss about
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 Another problem vexing voters this year is that there are too many worthy contenders in the limited series categories and not enough decent dramas to reward, making balloting equally challenging but for different reasons. Tribune News Service, The Mercury News, 24 June 2024 The budget negotiations did not yield resolution of political issues that have vexed the two-year-old Hobbs administration, including creating a path to get agency directors through the Senate confirmation process a plan to extend an education funding measure known as Proposition 123. Mary Jo Pitzl, The Arizona Republic, 18 June 2024 And that’s the matter vexing millions of caregivers, current and future. Mary Stanik, Twin Cities, 14 June 2024 So - The King Khan & BBQ Show Add one more to the list of comedians who are vexed by Thunberg. Hershal Pandya, Vulture, 7 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for vex 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'vex.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near vex

Cite this Entry

“Vex.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


vexed also vext; vexing
: to bring trouble, distress, or worry to
vexed by thoughts of what could have been
: to annoy continually with little irritations
vexed by the children

More from Merriam-Webster on vex

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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