From Middle English anoyen, a borrowing from Anglo-Norman anuier, Old French enuier (to molest, harm, tire), from Late Latin inodiō (cause aversion, make hateful, verb), from the phrase in odiō (hated), from Latin odium (hatred). Doublet of ennui. Displaced native Middle English grillen (to annoy, irritate), from Old English grillan (see grill).


  • (file)
  • IPA(key): /əˈnɔɪ/
  • Rhymes: -ɔɪ


annoy (third-person singular simple present annoys, present participle annoying, simple past and past participle annoyed)

  1. (transitive) To disturb or irritate, especially by continued or repeated acts; to bother with unpleasant deeds.
    • 1691, Matthew Prior, Pastoral to Dr. Turner, Bishop of Ely
      Say, what can more our tortured souls annoy / Than to behold, admire, and lose our joy?
    • 2013 May 25, “No hiding place”, in The Economist[1], volume 407, number 8837, page 74:
      In America alone, people spent $170 billion on “direct marketing”—junk mail of both the physical and electronic varieties—last year. Yet of those who received unsolicited adverts through the post, only 3% bought anything as a result. If the bumf arrived electronically, the take-up rate was 0.1%. And for online adverts the “conversion” into sales was a minuscule 0.01%. That means about $165 billion was spent not on drumming up business, but on annoying people, creating landfill and cluttering spam filters.
    Marc loved his sister, but when she annoyed him he wanted to switch her off.
  2. (intransitive) To do something to upset or anger someone; to be troublesome.
  3. (transitive) To molest; to harm; to injure.
    to annoy an army by impeding its march, or by a cannonade



Related termsEdit



annoy (plural annoys)

  1. (now rare, literary) A feeling of discomfort or vexation caused by what one dislikes.
    • 1532 (first printing), Geoffrey Chaucer, The Romaunt of the Rose:
      I merveyle me wonder faste / How ony man may lyve or laste / In such peyne and such brennyng, / [...] In such annoy contynuely.
    • c. 1610, John Fletcher, “Sleep”:
      We that suffer long annoy / Are contented with a thought / Through an idle fancy wrought: / O let my joys have some abiding!
    • 1870, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Society and Solitude:
      if she says he was defeated, why he had better a great deal have been defeated, than give her a moment's annoy.
  2. (now rare, literary) That which causes such a feeling.
    • 1594, William Shakespeare, King Rchard III, IV.2:
      Sleepe in Peace, and wake in Ioy, / Good Angels guard thee from the Boares annoy [...].
    • 1872, Robert Browning, "Fifine at the Fair, V:
      The home far and away, the distance where lives joy, / The cure, at once and ever, of world and world's annoy [...].





Middle EnglishEdit



  1. Alternative form of anoy