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From Scots bauther, bather ‎(to bother). Origin unknown. Perhaps related to Scots pother ‎(to make a stir or commotion, bustle), also of unknown origin. Compare English pother ‎(to poke, prod), variant of potter ‎(to poke). More at potter.

Perhaps related to Irish bodhaire (noise), bodhraim (to deafen, annoy.) {Concise Oxford English Dictionary 2011}



bother ‎(third-person singular simple present bothers, present participle bothering, simple past and past participle bothered)

  1. (transitive) To annoy, to disturb, to irritate.
    Would it bother you if I smoked?
  2. (intransitive) To feel care or anxiety; to make or take trouble; to be troublesome.
    Why do I even bother to try?
    • Henry James
      without bothering about it
  3. (intransitive) To do something which is of negligible inconvenience.
    You didn't even bother to close the door.


Usage notes[edit]



bother ‎(countable and uncountable, plural bothers)

  1. Fuss, ado.
    There was a bit of bother at the hairdresser's when they couldn't find my appointment in the book.
    • 2015 January 18, Monty Munford, “What’s the point of carrying a mobile phone nowadays?”, in The Daily Telegraph[1]:
      It was a 15-minute return trip to walk back home to pick up my device, but I weighed it up and decided that it wasn’t worth the bother.
  2. Trouble, inconvenience.
    Yes, I can do that for you - it's no bother.




  1. A mild expression of annoyance.
    • 1926, A A Milne, Winnie the Pooh, Methuen & Co., Ltd., Chapter 2 which Pooh goes visiting and gets into a tight place:
      "Oh, help!" said Pooh. "I'd better go back."
      "Oh, bother!" said Pooh. "I shall have to go on."
      "I can't do either!" said Pooh. "Oh, help and bother!"



Related terms[edit]