Borrowed 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”).
- (General Australian) IPA(key): /ˈbɔðə(ɹ)/
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈbɒðə(ɹ)/
- (General American) enPR: bŏʹ-thər IPA(key): /ˈbɑðɚ/
Audio (UK) (file)
- Rhymes: -ɒðə(ɹ)
- (transitive) To annoy, to disturb, to irritate.
- Would it bother you if I smoked?
- (intransitive) To feel care or anxiety; to make or take trouble; to be troublesome.
- Why do I even bother to try?
- 1876–1877, Henry James, Jr., chapter V, in The American, Boston, Mass.: James R[ipley] Osgood and Company, […], published 5 May 1877, OCLC 4655661, page 87:
- To expand, without bothering about it—without shiftless timidity on one side, or loquacious eagerness on the other—to the full compass of what he would have called a "pleasant" experience, was Newman's most definite programme of life.
- (intransitive) To do something which is of negligible inconvenience.
- You didn’t even bother to close the door.
- 1986, Vladimir Naumovich Zharkov, William B. Hubbard, transl., Interior Structure of the Earth and Planets, CRC Press, →ISBN, page 273:
- An egg and rasher of bacon for breakfast supply quite enough nitrogenous food for the day. Sometimes I have a treat. A cauliflower, etc. But generally I can't be bothered.
- 1992, Victoria Branden, In Defence of Plain English: The Decline and Fall of Literacy in Canada, Dundurn, →ISBN, page 88:
- I've been using a computer instead of a typewriter for four years now, but I can't speak the language at all. I don't need it, and I can't be bothered unless it's going to be useful. The only kind of mouse I recognize is the four-legged variety, and I can't tell a bit from a byte.
- This is a catenative verb that takes the to infinitive or the gerund (-ing). See Appendix:English catenative verbs
- (annoy): annoy, disturb, irritate, put out, vex; see also Thesaurus:annoy
- (make or take trouble): care, mind; see also Thesaurus:care
- → Jersey Dutch: boddere
- ^ Concise Oxford English Dictionary 2011
- Fuss, ado.
- There was a bit of bother at the hairdresser's when they couldn't find my appointment in the book.
- Trouble, inconvenience.
- Yes, I can do that for you - it's no bother.
- A mild expression of annoyance.
- 1926, A A Milne, Winnie the Pooh, Methuen & Co., Ltd., Chapter 2 ...in 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!"