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[noo-suh ns, nyoo-] /ˈnu səns, ˈnyu-/
an obnoxious or annoying person, thing, condition, practice, etc.:
a monthly meeting that was more nuisance than pleasure.
Law. something offensive or annoying to individuals or to the community, especially in violation of their legal rights.
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English nu(i)sa(u)nce < Anglo-French, equivalent to nuis(er) to harm (≪ Latin nocēre) + -ance -ance Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for nuisance
  • Slugs and snails can be a severe nuisance.
  • It was more of a nuisance than a serious health hazard.
  • You're the one posting on a comment page for no other reason than to be a nuisance.
  • Shopping can be a delight or a nuisance.
  • His lawsuit alleges negligence and nuisance.
  • For kids, the flu is a nuisance; for the elderly, it's often a death sentence.
  • But if your job demands that you dress in traditional business clothes, bicycling to work can be a nuisance.
  • But the regional raccoon population has become more than a mere nuisance.
  • Giant ants can be such a nuisance.
  • Whether a trout is a nuisance or a valued member of the community depends upon where you stand on the map.
British Dictionary definitions for nuisance


  1. a person or thing that causes annoyance or bother
  2. (as modifier): nuisance calls
(law) something unauthorized that is obnoxious or injurious to the community at large (public nuisance) or to an individual, esp in relation to his ownership or occupation of property (private nuisance)
nuisance value, the usefulness of a person's or thing's capacity to cause difficulties or irritation
Word Origin
C15: via Old French from nuire to injure, from Latin nocēre
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for nuisance

c.1400, "injury, hurt, harm," from Anglo-French nusaunce, Old French nuisance "harm, wrong, damage," from past participle stem of nuire "to harm," from Latin nocere "to hurt" (see noxious). Sense has softened over time, to "anything obnoxious to a community" (bad smells, pests, eyesores), 1660s, then "source of annoyance, something personally disagreeable" (1831). Applied to persons from 1690s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with nuisance
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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