Ennui Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How To Use It

Do you know the meaning of ennui? This article will provide you with everything from its definition to its etymology and more!

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Are you feeling a little low? Do you have a permeating sense of “blah,” but you can’t quite put your finger on how to describe it? Learning the meaning of the word ennui might help you better talk about your feelings when “bored” doesn’t quite cut it. Read on to learn more!

What Does Ennui Mean?

If you look at the dictionary — whether it’s Cambridge or Dictionary — the french ennui refers to a feeling of being disinterested, having a downright lack of spirit, or simply put, boredom. 

What Is the Origin of the Word Ennui?

The word ennui has known use dating back to the 1660s as a French word (deriving from the Old French enui or “irritation” in the 13th Century), with a back-formation from enoiier and anuier (meaning annoy). Hence the words ennuyée and ennuyé or “afflicted with ennui” were created.

In short, the French loanword ennui gets its legs from the very same Late Latin word that graced us with annoy – inodiare (“to make repulsive”). We then borrowed ennui a few centuries later after absorbing “annoy” into the English language. 

What Are Synonyms and Antonyms for the Word Ennui?

There are a wide variety of words that you can use in lieu of the word ennui. These are defined as synonyms: words with nearly the same or identical meaning as the original in the English language.

Synonyms are an outstanding English grammatical gadget to employ if you are trying to avoid repeating yourself.

According to Thesaurus, the following are synonyms for the word ennui:

  • Tedium
  • Lack of interest
  • Weariness
  • Bore
  • Dullness
  • Repetitiveness
  • Lack of variation
  • Dreariness
  • Languor
  • Blues
  • Apathy
  • Dissatisfaction
  • Torpor
  • Dejection
  • Melancholy
  • Dolefulness
  • Pessimism
  • Spiritlessness
  • Weltschmerz
  • Sameness
  • Monotony
  • Tediousness
  • Ho hums
  • Somnolence
  • Hebetude
  • Discontent
  • Inactivity
  • Sleepiness
  • Enervation
  • Lethargy
  • Dumps
  • Lassitude
  • Doldrums
  • Dejection
  • Lassitude
  • Acedia
  • Satiety
  • Heaviness
  • Listlessness

Adversely, when a word or phrase has the opposite definition to the original, these are called antonyms. For example, look at rigid and flexible, knowledge and ignorance, or arrogant and humble. Antonyms are useful when you are working on expanding your knowledge and understanding of the English language.

Below you will find a list of antonyms for the word ennui:

  • Animation
  • Cheer
  • Happiness
  • Liveliness
  • Enjoyment
  • Energy
  • Enthusiasm
  • Repletion
  • Interest
  • Feeling
  • Satisfaction
  • Gladness
  • Delight
  • Gratification
  • Tranquility
  • Felicity
  • Stimulation
  • Peacefulness
  • Sympathy
  • Variety
  • Diversion
  • Exuberance
  • Rapturous
  • Euphoria
  • Calmness
  • Elation
  • Glee
  • Composure
  • Rejuvenation
  • Vivacity
  • Vigor
  • Zest
  • Zeal

How Can the Word Ennui Be Used Correctly in a Sentence?

A great way to memorize new words and their definitions is to use them daily in a sentence. The French word ennui has a number of different ways to be used in a sentence in the English language.

Feel free to try and use this word of the day in a sentence. You can always make yourself a quiz or simply write out flashcards to help retain this newfound knowledge.

Examples of Ennui in a Sentence

  • You know, if you were to be privileged enough to live on forever, would ennui and just general boredom not set in?
  • I know you have the thoughts of another boring day ahead of you, but how can we help to overcome the inevitable ennui associated with this?
  • The agony of staying in this place with such ennui, such blandness for what felt like an eternity but was only a few months.
  • I managed to fend off ennui and knocked out both of my mid-term papers that were due next week, after all.
  • Corey is an individual looking at old age and his looming departure from life with a dim sadness that seemed to only complement their established ennui.
  • The short novels always had a precise reason; even in their bleakness, grimness, and ennui, he found pleasure and joy in their purpose.
  • The initial formation of despair, ennui, anger, alienation, and desuetude is due in many ways to your own physical environment, which always plays a crucial role.
  • My grandmother, a rather old-fashioned southern bell, would have simply lost her marbles or succumbed to ennui long before us.
  • But hey, my friend, if you’re that bored of reading the encyclopedia and are just up to your eyeballs in ennui, please, by all means, be my guest.
  • It’s the rather brash type of ennui that, in the end, affected her dearest friend Logan.
  • Ennui seems to have set over every animal at the zoo; they all just seem to be caught in that place in-between worlds of just monotony and desolation.
  • In the end, they all tend to exhibit a defining characteristic, in that they all have a rather unattractive unsophistication and ennui.
  • That endless lecture gave me a general sense of ennui!


When it’s all said and done, if you’ve ever had that “blah” feeling — worry not! There is a French word for that: ennui. While it may sound a little fancy, ennui is a fairly common feeling that most of us have experienced or will experience in the future.


  1. ENNUI | definition in the Cambridge English Dictionary
  2. Ennui Definition & Meaning | Dictionary.com
  3. 32 Synonyms & Antonyms for ENNUI | Thesaurus.com