Definition of vex in English:



  • 1 Make (someone) feel annoyed, frustrated, or worried, especially with trivial matters.

    ‘the memory of the conversation still vexed him’
    ‘the most vexing questions for policymakers’
    • ‘As a social activist, she was vexed by the invisibility of significant sections of the community - the homeless, the overweight and the elderly.’
    • ‘I think I'll ask her this question that is vexing me so.’
    • ‘Yesterday, he was vexed and frustrated as the weekend's fatalities ensured a flood of calls from journalists.’
    • ‘What vexed me enough that all those details would matter, however, was the film's treatment of women.’
    • ‘Times and editors change, and now instead of letters, the magazine chooses to vex their readers by not offering indices of back issues online.’
    • ‘As a Yorkshire born Aussie, the question of Scottish antipathy to the English has vexed me often.’
    • ‘And his equanimity didn't help matters, especially when she was vexed at him.’
    • ‘His prices were too high for the Venetian grandees, who were as careful as himself with money, whilst the religious orders vexed him with quibbles and indecision.’
    • ‘Yes, it's sad that we are still vexed by the very same issues.’
    • ‘Simultaneous translation is provided, but Donald Dewar is among the members vexed by the technology and his grimace is captured by photographers.’
    • ‘She gets increasingly vexed by Les who insists she say particularly silly things over the airwaves.’
    • ‘It really vexes me to see that so many people believe that they should be able to dictate what a blogger does or does not write about.’
    • ‘The question that has long vexed evolutionary biologists is whether these ornaments actually tell you anything about the genetic health of a male.’
    • ‘If the Declaration inspires us with lofty ideals, the Constitution vexes us with questions of interpretation.’
    • ‘I'm slightly vexed to find that walking is restricted to footpaths during the grouse nesting season (May to August).’
    • ‘The finding sheds further light on a question that has vexed scientists for years: How do birds navigate between nesting areas separated by thousands of miles with pinpoint accuracy?’
    • ‘There is something about this musical distinction that vexes me, but for the sake of the argument I'd say upbeat rock 'n' roll.’
    • ‘She'd given him no instructions just as the stresses of his situation began to vex him.’
    • ‘However, many of us were vexed at our government and the souring relations with the States.’
    • ‘The debate about private car use in York has vexed York's politicians and transport planners for decades.’
    annoy, irritate, infuriate, anger, incense, inflame, enrage, irk, chagrin, exasperate, madden, pique, provoke, nettle, disturb, upset, perturb, discompose, put out
    try, try someone's patience, get on someone's nerves, bother, trouble, worry, agitate, harass, harry, fuss, fluster, ruffle, hound
    rankle with, nag, torment, pain, distress, tease, frustrate, chafe, grate, fret, gall, outrage, displease, offend, disgust, dissatisfy, disquiet
    rub up the wrong way
    peeve, aggravate, miff, bug, bite, eat, hassle, rile, get to, hack off, make someone's blood boil, make someone see red, get someone's goat, get someone's hackles up, make someone's hackles rise, get someone's back up, get someone's dander up, drive up the wall, drive bananas, needle, be a thorn in someone's flesh, be a thorn in someone's side, be a pain in the neck, ruffle someone's feathers, get in someone's hair, get up someone's nose, get under someone's skin, give someone a hard time
    nark, get on someone's wick, give someone the hump, wind up, get across
    tick off, ride, rankle, gravel, bum out
    piss off, get on someone's tits
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    1. 1.1archaic Cause distress to.
      ‘thou shalt not vex a stranger’
      distress, grieve, sadden, make miserable, make wretched, upset, trouble, harrow, cause anguish to, afflict, perturb, disturb
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Late Middle English: from Old French vexer, from Latin vexare shake, disturb.