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[veks] /vɛks/
verb (used with object)
to irritate; annoy; provoke:
His noisy neighbors often vexed him.
to torment; trouble; distress; plague; worry:
Lack of money vexes many.
to discuss or debate (a subject, question, etc.) with vigor or at great length:
to vex a question endlessly without agreeing.
to disturb by motion; stir up; toss about.
to afflict with physical pain.
Origin of vex
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English vexen < Old French vexer < Latin vexāre to shake, jolt, harass, annoy, frequentative of vehere to carry, convey
Related forms
vexer, noun
vexingly, adverb
1. anger, irk, fret, nettle. 2. hector, harry, harass.
1. delight. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for vex
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Nothing whispered of that dreadful half-dollar which was coming on the morrow to vex his spirit.

    Not Quite Eighteen Susan Coolidge
  • All this was the readier told me, because it was against me, and would tease and vex me.

    Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • But, having nothing to say, he did not vex himself to put it into words—a trait which strongly appealed to Hilary.

    The Odds Ethel M. Dell
  • "I haven't meant to vex you," he said, as he stooped to kiss his mother.

    Great Uncle Hoot-Toot Mrs. Molesworth
  • When people set to work to vex you, nothing makes them more angry than to take it quietly, and show no vexation.

    The King's Daughters Emily Sarah Holt
  • Just you kiss him now, and tell him you didn't mean to vex him.

    A Bride of the Plains Baroness Emmuska Orczy
  • No word or deed, written or spoken, of any man shall be able to vex or grieve the spirit that I shall put within you.

  • Of course one would not do anything to vex him even if it were worth while.

    Typhoon Joseph Conrad
British Dictionary definitions for vex


verb (transitive)
to anger or annoy
to confuse; worry
(archaic) to agitate
Derived Forms
vexer, noun
vexing, adjective
vexingly, adverb
Word Origin
C15: from Old French vexer, from Latin vexāre to jolt (in carrying), from vehere to convey
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 vex

early 15c., from Middle French vexer, from Latin vexare "to attack, harass, trouble," from vexus, collateral form of vectus, past participle of vehere "to draw, carry" (see vehicle). Related: Vexed; vexing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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