Borrowed from French ennui, from Old French enui (annoyance), from enuier (modern French ennuyer), from Late Latin inodiō, from Latin in odiō (hated). Doublet of annoy.



ennui (countable and uncountable, plural ennuis)

  1. A gripping listlessness or melancholia caused by boredom; depression.



Related termsEdit


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ennui (third-person singular simple present ennuis, present participle ennuying, simple past and past participle ennuied or ennuyed)

  1. (transitive) To make bored or listless; to weary.



From Old French enui, probably from the verb enuier.



ennui m (plural ennuis)

  1. (uncountable) Boredom; lassitude.
    • 1832, Honoré de Balzac, La Femme de Trente Ans, Chapter 3,
      Notre ennui, nos mœurs fades sont le résultat du système politique. — Our boredom, our insipid customs, are the result of the political system.
  2. (uncountable) Trouble, issue, annoyance.
    • 1883, Emile Zola, La joie de vivre
      — Mon Dieu ! nous étions d’une inquiétude ! dit le père qui avait suivi son fils, malgré le vent. Qu’est-il donc arrivé ?
      — Oh ! des ennuis tout le temps, expliqua-t-elle. D’abord, les chemins sont si mauvais, qu’il a fallu près de deux heures pour venir de Bayeux. Puis, à Arromanches, voilà qu’un cheval de Malivoire se casse une patte ; et il n’a pu nous en donner un autre, j’ai vu le moment qu’il nous faudrait coucher chez lui… Enfin, le docteur a eu l’obligeance de nous prêter son cabriolet. Ce brave Martin nous a conduites…
      "We have been very anxious about you," said the father, who had followed his son, in spite of the wind. "What has happened to make you so late ?"
      " Oh ! we've had nothing but troubles," she answered. "To begin with, the roads are so bad that it has taken us nearly two hours to come from Bayeux. Then, at Arromanches, one of Malivoire's horses went lame and he couldn't let us have another. At one time I really thought we should have to stay with him all night. But the Doctor was kind enough to offer us his gig, and Martin here has driven us home."

Usage notesEdit

  • In the sense of "trouble", the word is almost solely used in the expression l'ennui avec (the trouble with) or as a plural tantum (see ennuis).

Related termsEdit

Further readingEdit

Middle EnglishEdit



  1. Alternative form of anoy