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.

More examples

  • I don't know why he bothers to bet - his horses always come in last.
  • Don't bother drying the pans - just leave them to drain.
  • It peeves me that she didn't bother to phone.
  • Why bother getting up at all when you don't have a job to go to?
  • They went to a lot of trouble for their dinner party, but half the guests didn't bother to turn up.

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.

More examples

  • The idea of going grey doesn't bother me, but I'd hate to go bald.
  • "He can do what he likes - it doesn't bother me, " she said airily.
  • It doesn't bother me what people think.
  • It bothered him that no-one had taken the trouble to contact him.
  • She doesn't seem at all bothered about her exam results.

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.

More examples

  • She looked busy and I didn't want to bother her.
  • If the noise bothers you I'll switch it off.
  • The neighbours make a bit of noise but it doesn't bother me.
  • Will it bother you if I have the TV on?
  • I didn't want to bother her when she has so many problems of her own.

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)