English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Can anyone propose an adjective of nuisance? Or a word that can be used to communicate that sense?

The place where I want to use the word is as follows. I am talking about when children are abused and ignored by parents (as a result of high population and no family planning) and the children grow up to become not-so-constructive citizens, such as thieves and petty criminals.

What could be the word for such an outcome? Also, what is an adjective for nuisance?

share|improve this question
What's wrong with a noun alone? "They grow up to be a nuisance"? – Kris Apr 29 '12 at 14:47
It’s a pity that noisome most often means “smelly”. – tchrist Apr 29 '12 at 15:31
You say "nuisance" but that does not really carry the same connotation as "not-so-constructive citizens, such as thieves and petty criminals." Nuisance means "bothersome" or "annoying" while "criminal" is stronger than that. – Mark Beadles Sep 6 '12 at 0:50
up vote 10 down vote accepted

Nuisance itself occurs as an adjective as well as a noun. Here's one relevant citation from the OED:

She takes to the streets daily in response to calls from tenants to investigate nuisance neighbours.

share|improve this answer
So you propose I use with civilians? Ignored children grow up to become nuisance citizens? – Saad Rehman Shah Apr 29 '12 at 11:16
@Caffeine: Not necessarily, but you were, as I understand it, asking for an adjectival form of 'nuisance'. In fact, the word which would probably best meet your need is 'antisocial', or perhaps 'disruptive'. – Barrie England Apr 29 '12 at 11:38
Perhaps you could just say "ignored children grow up to become nuisances". – user16269 Apr 29 '12 at 11:49

Troublesome works well.

The children grow up to become quite troublesome citizens, such as thieves and petty criminals.

share|improve this answer

The most common adjective for something/someone that's [being] a nuisance is annoying.

In very general terms, a nuisance is something that annoys

(The link is to a "legally-oriented" website answering the question "What is a Nuisance?").

I don't think describing psychologically damaged individuals as a "nuisance" is particularly constructive, and most people probably wouldn't say crackheads in Central Park, nationwide paedophile rings, psychopaths, etc. are "annoying".

But you might say it was annoying if someone's kid on the restaurant table next to you was playing a bleeping electronic game, and the parents were ignoring it. I've just answered the question about the normal verb/adjective/adverb for nuisances - they annoy, it's annoying, they do it annoyingly.

share|improve this answer

In your example, you could say:

. . . the children become delinquents.


. . . the children become delinquent citizens.

From NOAD:

delinquent |dəˈlɪŋkwənt| adjective (typically of a young person or that person's behavior) showing or characterized by a tendency to commit crime, particularly minor crime : delinquent children.

share|improve this answer
True, perhaps. However, it is the OP's opnion that they become an embarassment/ irritant (nuisance) than criminal (deliquent) -- the connotation in either case, I mean. – Kris Apr 29 '12 at 14:45
The OP wants to describe children who "grow up to become not-so-constructive citizens, such as thieves and petty criminals." Delinquent is appropriate. – SEL Sep 6 '12 at 1:14

We could coin "nuisant", which follows convention and has a pleasing ring.

share|improve this answer
Not coin, revive. It appears in OED as obsolete: "Harmful, hurtful; of the nature of a nuisance." – Andrew Leach Sep 12 '14 at 13:18

Why not just say nuisancical?

share|improve this answer
Because it's nonsensical? – Andrew Leach Nov 27 '13 at 16:40
This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post - you can always comment on your own posts, and once you have sufficient reputation you will be able to comment on any post. – Benyamin Hamidekhoo Nov 28 '13 at 10:15

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.