Definition of ennui in English:


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  • A feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement.

    ‘he succumbed to ennui and despair’
    • ‘The physical environment itself is a crucial factor in the creation of unhappiness, ennui, anger, alienation and despair.’
    • ‘He is portraying an English landscape of barren trees, a place of despair, ennui and fear.’
    • ‘But for those who are privileged to get their life extended forever, will boredom and ennui not set in?’
    • ‘The animals at the zoo seem to be caught in that some place in-between world weariness and ennui.’
    • ‘The pain of living in this house with such ennui, such boredom for nine years.’
    • ‘When our children suffer from ennui, we worry that they lack stimulation.’
    • ‘But she went on to give a searing description of the ennui the work brings - broken only when the tea trolley arrives.’
    • ‘Temporary ennui or a more long-term change of direction?’
    • ‘So, shouldn't a fellow, consigned to years of ennui, be allowed the reading material he chooses?’
    • ‘I think I had a lingering sense of ennui that wasn't helping me stay energized and positive about my job.’
    • ‘The thought of this weekend's coverage, and the doom-laden analysis which is sure to follow, fills me with ennui.’
    • ‘I've met a few in my time and the defining characteristic they exhibit is a rather unattractive effortlessness and ennui.’
    • ‘How can we overcome the general ennui associated with the thought of another incredibly boring day ahead of you?’
    • ‘Schultz is a man facing old age and his looming mortality with a dim sadness that seems to complement his general ennui.’
    • ‘One man's ennui is another man's earner, which is why we have accountants, cleaners and cooks.’
    • ‘Personally, I found it quite dull, but then I suffer from financial ennui.’
    • ‘The books always had a point, even in their pain and desolation and ennui, he found comfort in their purpose.’
    • ‘It's the kind of ennui that ultimately affected his friend Vieira, who has been reinvigorated by his move to Italy.’
    • ‘Partly it's just a recovery attitude after a very busy month, but it's more than that; ennui perhaps.’
    • ‘I managed to fight off ennui and squeeze out an analysis of sorts after all.’
    boredom, tedium, listlessness, lethargy, lassitude, languor, restlessness, weariness, sluggishness, enervation
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/änˈwē/ /ɑnˈwi/


Mid 18th century French, from Latin in odio(n-), from mihi in odio est ‘it is hateful to me’. Compare with annoy.