ennui

en·nui (ŏn-wē’, ŏn’wē)
n. Listlessness and dissatisfaction resulting from lack of interest; boredom: »

"The servants relieved their ennui with gambling and gossip about their masters"

(John Barth).
[French, from Old French enui, from ennuyer, to annoy, bore; see ANNOY(Cf. annoy).]
Word History: Both annoy and ennui originate from the same Latin phrase. When the Romans wanted to say that they hated something, they used an idiom whose wording may seem a little unexpected for speakers of English: mihi in odiō est, which literally means "to me in a condition of dislike or hatred it is." Translated more idiomatically, the expression just means "I hate or dislike." The words in odiō ("in hatred") in this idiom gave rise to the Vulgar Latin verb *inodiāre, "to be hateful or a source of trouble to, annoy," the source of the Old French verb ennuyer or anoier, "to trouble, annoy, bore." This verb was borrowed into Middle English by around 1275 as anoien, our annoy. The Old French verb anoier also gave rise to a noun, variously spelled enui and annui, meaning "chagrin, sadness." The Modern French form of this noun, ennui, came to mean "boredom, lassitude," and it was with this sense that the word was borrowed into English in the 1700s.

Word Histories. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • ennui — ennui …   Dictionnaire des rimes

  • ennui — [ ɑ̃nɥi ] n. m. • déb. XIIe; de ennuyer 1 ♦ Vx Tristesse profonde, grand chagrin. ⇒ tourment. « Si d une mère en pleurs vous plaignez les ennuis » (Racine). 2 ♦ Peine qu on éprouve de quelque contrariété; cette contrariété. ⇒ désagrément,… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • ennui — ENNUI. s. m. Lassitude, langueur, fatigue ou inaction d esprit, causée par une chose qui déplaît par ellemême, ou par sa durée, ou par le défaut d intérêt, ou par la disposition dans laquelle on se trouve. On ne sauroit entendre cela sans ennui,… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1798

  • Ennui — is a word meaning general lack of interest or boredom, or depression. It may also refer to:*Ennui (film), 2003 American film *Ennui (sonnet), sonnet written by Sylvia Plath …   Wikipedia

  • ennui — 1660s as a French word in English; nativized by 1758; from Fr. ennui, from O.Fr. enui annoyance (13c.), back formation from enuier (see ANNOY (Cf. annoy)). Hence ennuyé afflicted with ennui; ennuyée a woman so afflisted. So far as frequency of… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Ennui — En nui , n. [F., fr. L. in odio in hatred. See {Annoy}.] A feeling of weariness and disgust; dullness and languor of spirits, arising from satiety or want of interest; tedium. T. Gray. [1913 Webster] || …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Ennui — (fr., spr. Annni), Überdruß, Langeweile; daher Ennuyant (spr. Annüang), langweilig, lustig; Ennuyiren, langweilen …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Ennui — (frz., spr. annüih), Überdruß, Langeweile; ennuyant (spr. annüijáng), langweilig, verdrießlich; ennuyieren, langweilen, lästig werden …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Ennui — (frz. annüi), Ueberdruß, Langeweile, davon: sich ennuyiren, langweilen, und ennuyant, langweilig …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • ennui — doldrums, boredom, *tedium Analogous words: depression, dejection, dumps, blues, melancholy, *sadness: listlessness, languidness, languorousness or languor, spiritlessness (see corresponding adjectives at LANGUID): satiation or satiety,… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • ennui — [n] boredom apathy, blahs, blues, dejection, depression, dissatisfaction, doldrums, dumps*, fatigue, ho hums*, lack of interest, languidness, languor, lassitude, listlessness, melancholy, sadness, satiety, spiritlessness, surfeit, tedium,… …   New thesaurus

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