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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 nuisances
  • So far, the ash has been nothing but a nuisance, but people have a low threshold for nuisances on the whole.
  • These difficulties could well be simple temporary nuisances while the new system is implemented.
  • And the stumps that remain are often viewed as nuisances, chewing up property and stubbornly difficult to remove.
  • Prolonged nuisances may subject dog owners to fines or other legal action.
British Dictionary definitions for nuisances


  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 nuisances



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 nuisances
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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