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

Short-term rentals As for short-term rentals, the issue is one that has vexed local officials since the trend emerged several years ago. Jeff Forward, Houston Chronicle, "Covenant changes focus of Wednesday public forum in Woodlands," 19 July 2019 That California trails far behind the rest of the country has long vexed state officials. Jackie Botts, The Mercury News, "California’s struggle to get food stamps to the hungry," 19 July 2019 This technology, said businessman Rui Costa, a pioneer of the digital security innovations sweeping the city, will finally answer a question that has long vexed the rich here. Washington Post, "‘A golden prison’: In Brazil’s largest city, home security is a high-tech arms race," 9 July 2019 But Panayos says plastic utensils remain particularly vexing to replace on a large scale. Hannah Whitaker, National Geographic, "Why carrying your own fork and spoon helps solve the plastic crisis," 28 June 2019 The influx has been driven largely by Central American migrants, many of them unaccompanied minors or women traveling with children, fleeing gang violence and drug cartels, an escalating crisis that also vexed the Obama administration. David Nakamura And Nick Miroff,, "Nielsen becomes public face of Trump’s migrant family separation policy," 19 June 2018 The struggle to retrieve rider information from e-scooter companies after hit-and-run accidents has vexed victims ever since e-scooters began appearing around the country last summer. Peter Holley, Washington Post, "The Chicago incident is the latest example of a hit-and-run case involving the high-tech devices.," 10 July 2019 That question has vexed even many of the most ardent climate-change activists., "Massive tree-planting effort could save planet, climate-change research finds, but it’s too early to ‘take it as gospel’," 9 July 2019 Matt Barnes, charged with the blown save and loss on Wednesday, was vexed by his poor outing. Alex Speier,, "The Red Sox are blowing a lot of saves. Can they fix that?," 26 June 2019

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

30 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

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

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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on vex

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with vex

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for vex

Spanish Central: Translation of vex

Nglish: Translation of vex for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of vex for Arabic Speakers

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