Printable Version
Pronunciation: ê-noi Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: To bother, pester briefly, unpleasantly disturb, irritate, mildly harass.

Notes: Today we have a verb surprisingly related to noisome. The action noun is Latinate annoyance, but otherwise it derives is relatives by Germanic suffixes: annoying is the active adjective and annoyed reflects the state of someone who has been annoyed.

In Play: Different things annoy different people: "Her constant caviling annoyed Farnsworth so much that he dismissed Denise Hirt without addressing any of her complaints." Annoyances can be good things or bad: "Hinkleman moved to Uruguay to escape annoying creditors."

Word History: Today's Good Word was modeled after Old French enoier which, by Middle French, had become anoier "to vex, anger" or anuier "to trouble, irk". English borrowed the same word from Modern French, this time ennui "boredom". French inherited its word from a rare Latin verb, inodiare "make loathsome", based on the phrase '(esse) in odio' "(to be) hated, in hatred". Odio is the ablative of odium "hatred, animosity, enmity, aversion", a noun created from PIE k'ad- "uneasiness, displeasure, hate". Latin seems to have removed the initial consonant from this word for mysterious reasons. (The initial consonant [k'] changed into [s] in all eastern PIE languages but became [k] in the western ones.) However, the [k'] remained in all others to become hate in English, had in Danish, hata, in Norwegian hat, in Swedish, and Hasse in German. We see its remains in Welsh cawdd "anger, vexation", Breton keuz "regret, remorse", and Cornish cueth "grief". (Let's not annoy Albert Skiles, an unrecognized wordmaster by e-mail with us for a decade, by forgetting to thank him for recommending today's fascinating Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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