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Annoy (like the French ennui, a word traced by etymologists to a Latin phrase, in odio esse, to be "in hatred" or hateful of someone), to vex or affect with irritation. In the sense of "nuisance," the noun "annoyance" is found in the English "Jury of Annoyance" appointed by an act of 1754 to report upon obstructions in the highways.

Annoyance is an unpleasant mental state that is characterized by such effects as irritation and distraction from one's conscious thinking. It can lead to emotions such as frustration and anger. See also irritation.

An annoyance is a stimulus that can produce a state of annoyance in a person. It can be in the form of a persistent and mild physical pain, a little sister, an immature friend, matti or the continued hindrance from achieving a goal.


Various reasons exist for why one finds particular stimuli annoying.

Measurement of annoyance is highly subjective. As an attempt at measurement, psychological studies on annoyance often rely on their subjects' own ratings of levels of annoyance on a scale.

A study found that one's response to an annoyance, at least when the perceived cause is another person, escalate to more extreme levels as they go unresolved. It also found that one was more likely to blame the party who was causing the annoyance in the study, rather than one's self, for the annoyance as it escalated.

Psychological warfare can involve creating annoyances to distract and wear down the resistance of the target. For example, in 1993 the FBI played music "specifically selected for its irritation ability" on loudspeakers outside the Branch Davidian compound in an attempt to bring about the surrender of David Koresh and his followers.

Annoyance can cause stress in another person, leading to high blood pressure, and other illnesses.


Making annoying commercials has been found to be very effective. While viewers or listeners may dislike a particular ad and find it grating such a reaction also tends to increase sales of the product being advertised. Rosser Reeves is viewed as the creator and main proponent of this form of advertising.


  • Dean G Pruitt, John C Parker, Joseph M Mikolic. Escalation as a reaction to persistent annoyance. International Journal of Conflict Management. Bowling Green: Jul 1997.Vol.8, Iss. 3; pg. 252, 19 pgs
  • Mark Potok. FBI grinds away at cult USA Today 14 April 1993 01A
  • This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.
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