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Borrowing 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), Irish bodhraim (to deafen, annoy). [1]



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]


  1. ^ Concise Oxford English Dictionary 2011



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]