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

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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 The lane reduction will undoubtedly vex some motorists., "Bikes on the McGrath Highway? The state’s preparing to redesign the urban artery," 23 Apr. 2021 Brooklyn still has fractional addresses assigned in 1870, and duplicate street names — Washington Street, but also Washington Avenue — still vex the unfamiliar visitor. New York Times, "An Old Brooklyn Story Gets Fresh Reporting," 29 Jan. 2021 What thrills Cuomo most, to go by his reputation and the evidence, is building things—the kind of big infrastructure projects that might vex more deferential executives. Nick Paumgarten, The New Yorker, "Andrew Cuomo, the King of New York," 12 Oct. 2020 Ventilation problems still vex more than 20 high schools, but there may be time to fix many before Thursday, Gendar said. Henry Goldman,, "NYC’s Daily Positive Rate Over 3% for First Time in Months," 29 Sep. 2020 Still, said Tony Travers, a professor of government at the London School of Economics, the ruling only deferred a decision on a matter that has vexed Britain’s main political parties. Benjamin Mueller, New York Times, "U.K. Court Blocks Heathrow Airport Expansion on Environmental Grounds," 27 Feb. 2020 Even before the heath secretary could get a word in about the virus, Trump cut him off and began criticizing Azar for his handling of an aborted federal ban on vaping products, a matter that vexed the president. Anchorage Daily News, "The U.S. was beset by denial and dysfunction as the coronavirus raged," 5 Apr. 2020 Others are frustrated by the influence over the campaign of Jane Sanders, who has a tendency to second-guess staff decisions — a perennial problem that has vexed other campaigns. Evan Halper, Los Angeles Times, "Sanders camp is pulled in different directions as defeat inches closer," 10 Mar. 2020 But for every group that is placated there are new malcontents HOW TO DIVIDE India into administrative units is a question that has vexed all its governments. The Economist, "Bodos and don’ts A restive corner of India is becoming more peaceful," 30 Jan. 2020

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for vex

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

1 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Vex.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for vex



English Language Learners Definition of vex

old-fashioned : to annoy or worry (someone)


\ ˈveks How to pronounce vex (audio) \
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.

More from Merriam-Webster on vex

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for vex

Nglish: Translation of vex for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of vex for Arabic Speakers

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