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  • Noun

ennui

AHN-wee

Context
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Highly repetitive tasks such as filing papers for hours on end can often cause boredom and ennui to set in, causing physical and mental fatigue. Many students feel an unbearable ennui during long boring class lectures or when waiting in long lines with nothing to do. To avoid ennui, you may want to take a book along to read when you know you’ll have a long wait with a lack of interesting things to do.

Quiz: What does ennui mean?

  • A state of dissatisfaction brought on by boredom.
  • Having a boring, uninteresting personality.
  • Waiting for something endlessly.

Memory Hook
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Perennial Oui "Why do you always say "oui"? Why not say "yes"? You don't speak French! In fact, the only French word you know is "oui"! I think you say "oui" to make people think you know French! You perennially say "oui" every single stupid year ... why not switch languages, say, to Spanish? Why afflict me with your boring, perennial "oui," causing a great deal of ennui for me?"

Examples
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  • There are three cures for ennui: sleep, drink and travel. — M. F. K. Fisher M
  • The movie focuses on the complex friendship that develops over many years between the ennui-ridden vampire Kei, the ambitious Japanese thug Sho and the struggling Son, torn between his loyalty to his friends and his loyalty to his people. —Newsvine
  • Fresh off the triumph of revamping Wal-Mart’s once-dowdy apparel section into one of its most successful departments, Ms. Castagna is viewed as the kind of results-oriented executive who can finally shake Penney out of its longstanding ennui.' —The New York Times
  • The reason for Milwaukee’s failure to crush opponent after opponent as it did a year ago probably can be attributed more to ennui than to a drop-off in talent. —Sports Illustrated

Word Ingredients
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From word roots meaning “in hatred.” The force of ennui has been considerably toned down over the centuries; one certainly, however, still does not “love” a situation filled with “ennui.”

Word Constellation
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Ennui