bother Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo
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Meaning of “bother” in the English Dictionary

"bother" in British English

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botherverb

uk   /ˈbɒð.ər/ us   /ˈbɑː.ðɚ/
  • bother verb (MAKE AN EFFORT)

B2 [I or T] to make the effort to do something: [+ to infinitive] He hasn't even bothered to write. You could have phoned us but you just didn't bother. [+ -ing verb] Don't bother making the bed - I'll do it later. [+ -ing verb or + to infinitive] You'd have found it if you'd bothered looking/to look. You won't get any credit for doing it, so why bother?
can't be bothered B2 mainly UK informal
If you can't be bothered doing/to do something, you are too lazy or tired to do it: I can't be bothered to iron my clothes. Most evenings I can't be bothered cooking.

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  • bother verb (WORRY)

B2 [T] to make someone feel worried or upset: Does it bother you that he's out so much of the time? Living on my own has never bothered me. I don't care if he doesn't come - it doesn't bother me. [+ that] It bothers me that he doesn't seem to notice.

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  • bother verb (ANNOY)

A2 [T] to annoy or cause problems for someone: Don't bother your father when he's working. I'm sorry to bother you, but could you help me lift this suitcase? I didn't want to bother her with work matters on her day off. The noise was beginning to bother us, so we left. She threatened to call the police if he didn't stop bothering her.

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bothernoun

uk   /ˈbɒð.ər/ us   /ˈbɑː.ðɚ/

botherexclamation

uk   /ˈbɒð.ər/ us   /ˈbɑː.ðɚ/ UK old-fashioned
(Definition of bother from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"bother" in American English

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botherverb

us   /ˈbɑð·ər/
  • bother verb (MAKE AN EFFORT)

[I] to make an effort to do something, esp. something that is not convenient: You won’t get any credit for doing it, so why bother? Don’t bother doing the laundry. [+ to infinitive] He didn’t even bother to say goodbye.
  • bother verb (ANNOY)

[I/T] to annoy, worry, or cause problems for someone: [T] The heat was beginning to bother him, so he sat down. [T] Does it bother you if your children aren’t interested?

bothernoun [U]

us   /ˈbɑð·ər/
  • bother noun [U] (EFFORT)

a big effort: I’m not sure gardening is worth the bother.
  • bother noun [U] (WORRY)

something that annoys or causes problems for someone: That dog has never been a bother to anyone.
(Definition of bother from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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