English

Definition of bother verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

      

    bother

     verb
    verb
    BrE BrE//ˈbɒðə(r)//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈbɑːðər//
     
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they bother
    BrE BrE//ˈbɒðə(r)//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈbɑːðər//
     
    he / she / it bothers
    BrE BrE//ˈbɒðəz//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈbɑːðərz//
     
    past simple bothered
    BrE BrE//ˈbɒðəd//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈbɑːðərd//
     
    past participle bothered
    BrE BrE//ˈbɒðəd//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈbɑːðərd//
     
    -ing form bothering
    BrE BrE//ˈbɒðərɪŋ//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈbɑːðərɪŋ//
     
     
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  1. 1  [intransitive, transitive] (often used in negative sentences and questions) to spend time and/or energy doing something ‘Shall I wait?’ ‘No, don't bother’. I don't know why I bother! Nobody ever listens! If that’s all the thanks I get, I won’t bother in future! bother with/about something It's not worth bothering with (= using) an umbrella—the car's just outside. I don't know why you bother with that crowd (= why you spend time with them). He doesn’t bother much about his appearance. bother to do something He didn't even bother to let me know he was coming. bother doing something Why bother asking if you're not really interested?
  2. 2  [transitive] to annoy, worry or upset somebody; to cause somebody trouble or pain bother somebody The thing that bothers me is… That sprained ankle is still bothering her (= hurting). ‘I'm sorry he was so rude to you.’ ‘It doesn't bother me.’ bother somebody with something I don't want to bother her with my problems at the moment. bother somebody that… Does it bother you that she earns more than you? it bothers somebody to do something It bothers me to think of her alone in that big house.
  3. 3  [transitive] to interrupt somebody; to talk to somebody when they do not want to talk to you bother somebody Stop bothering me when I'm working. Let me know if he bothers you again. Sorry to bother you, but there's a call for you on line two.
  4. Word Origin late 17th cent. (as a noun in the dialect sense ‘noise, chatter’): of Anglo-Irish origin; probably related to Irish bodhaire ‘noise’, bodhraim ‘deafen, annoy’. The verb (originally dialect) meant ‘confuse with noise’ in the early 18th cent.Extra examples ‘I’m sorry he was so rude to you.’ ‘It doesn’t bother me.’ Please stop bothering me with all these questions! Sorry to bother you, but there’s a call for you on line two. Stop bothering me when I’m working.Idioms
    be bothered (about somebody/something)
     
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     (informal, especially British English) to think that somebody/something is important I'm not bothered about what he thinks. ‘Where shall we eat?’ ‘I'm not bothered.’ (= I don't mind where we go.)
    can’t be bothered (to do something)
     
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     used to say that you do not want to spend time and/or energy doing something I should really do some work this weekend but I can't be bothered. All this has happened because you couldn't be bothered to give me the message.
    (informal) in a state of anxiety or confusion because you are under too much pressure, have a problem, are trying to hurry, etc.
    not bother yourself/your head with/about something
     
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    (especially British English) to not spend time/effort on something, because it is not important or you are not interested in it
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: bother

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