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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 vexing
  • The lack of fingerprints can cause vexing social problems, which are magnified because few people have heard of the condition.
  • Knowing how to measure the rise, however, can be vexing.
  • Even more vexing was the weariness and pain he felt each evening, when he finally had a chance to rest his limbs.
  • Sometimes it takes a small, focused company to solve a vexing design dilemma.
  • Riding the rails to a land that needs fixing, where the sun shines so brightly, the heat was quite vexing.
  • Bouncing back from insults, slights, or the endless forms of bullying is one of life's more vexing challenges.
  • In this respect it can provide a fresh disciplined scientific approach to many vexing questions.
  • But the vexing questions of this war have pulled them in different directions.
  • Some lawyers, however, say the use of the law raises vexing legal issues and could create even more work for municipal courts.
  • No one doubts that this is both morally vexing and economically inefficient.
British Dictionary definitions for vexing


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 vexing



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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