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[uh b-nok-shuh s] /əbˈnɒk ʃəs/
highly objectionable or offensive; odious:
obnoxious behavior.
annoying or objectionable due to being a showoff or attracting undue attention to oneself:
an obnoxious little brat.
Archaic. exposed or liable to harm, evil, or anything objectionable.
Obsolete. liable to punishment or censure; reprehensible.
Origin of obnoxious
1575-85; < Latin obnoxiōsus harmful, equivalent to ob- ob- + noxiōsus noxious
Related forms
obnoxiously, adverb
obnoxiousness, noun
unobnoxious, adjective
unobnoxiously, adverb
1. See hateful.
1. delightful. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for obnoxious
  • There is something obnoxious, even, about the idea that some people should be paid to entertain themselves in this way.
  • Personal attacks on other commenters are not permitted of course, nor is abusive or obnoxious behaviour.
  • Years can change and be replaced, but not the obnoxious dark characters of human beings.
  • It's messy, unpredictable and the outcome sometimes downright obnoxious.
  • Some of the religious zealots may well believe in the obnoxious charter.
  • After all, people who are nuts or socially obnoxious are only a trivial inconvenience in a large society.
  • For the human understanding is obnoxious to the influence of the imagination no less than to the influence of common notions.
  • Individuals and groups who find the values or laws of one state obnoxious have the right to live somewhere else.
  • His condition might have been tormented and tormenting--it might appear wearily obnoxious.
  • The problem was that a smirking sense of humor can, shockingly, come across as obnoxious.
British Dictionary definitions for obnoxious


extremely unpleasant
(obsolete) exposed to harm, injury, etc
Derived Forms
obnoxiously, adverb
obnoxiousness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin obnoxius, from ob- to + noxa injury, from nocēre to harm
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 obnoxious

1580s, "subject to the authority of another," from Latin obnoxiosus "hurtful, injurious," from obnoxius "subject, exposed to harm," from ob "to, toward" (see ob-) + noxa "injury, hurt, damage entailing liability" (see noxious). Meaning "subject to something harmful" is 1590s; meaning "offensive, hateful" is first recorded 1670s, influenced by noxious.

Obnoxious has two very different senses, one of which (exposed or open or liable to attack or injury) requires notice because its currency is now so restricted that it is puzzling to the uninstructed. It is the word's rightful or de jure meaning, and we may hope that scholarly writers will keep it alive. [Fowler]
Related: Obnoxiously; obnoxiousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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