\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

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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

There is no joy in pointing out that common sense says that Mickelson, vexed by another disheartening result at the U.S. Open, finally let the game get to him. Bill Pennington, New York Times, "What Was Phil Mickelson Thinking?," 16 June 2018 Cooling trade tensions with China fueled a rush back into U.S. stocks Monday, vaulting the Dow industrials to their largest daily point gain since the financial crisis even as the threat of rising rates continued to vex investors. Akane Otani, WSJ, "Stocks Rebound as Trade Tensions With China Ease," 26 Mar. 2018 The endless loop represents an expensive problem that has vexed Alaska's largest city for generations. Anchorage Daily News, "An endless loop: Homeless, alcoholic and dependent on Anchorage’s fraying and expensive safety net," 20 Jan. 2016 Gulch development The Gulch is a sprawling bed of rail lines and parking lots that stretches from Mercedes-Benz Stadium to MARTA’s Five Points station that’s vexed downtown leaders for years. J. Scott Trubey, ajc, "Texts show Bottoms and Atlanta schools negotiating Gulch incentives," 21 June 2018 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

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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Statistics for vex

Last Updated

22 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for vex

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

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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.

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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).


playful or foolish behavior

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