I know boring means uninteresting or dull, and annoying means irritating or bothering, for me they are totally different, so I was surprised to see "bore" being translated as "使厌烦"(which means annoying somebody) in most English-Chinese bilingual dictionaries(Oxford, Cambridge, Longman etc.).

I wonder if they are synonyms.

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    In English the two have different meaning. The question is whether or not there are different words for them in Chinese – Eran Dec 15 '18 at 7:27
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    Somebody who is boring can be annoying. But so can somebody who is loud, repetitive, or dishonest. That doesn't mean that the words are synonyms—they aren't. – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Dec 15 '18 at 8:04
  • @Eran no, I'm asking whether they are different in English, just to know if the translations are correct. – linly Dec 15 '18 at 8:14
  • You've accepted the solitary answer after only an hour, not waiting to see if there were alternative explanations. For instance... bore is also a noun, and one definition is "a tedious or annoying situation or activity" [my emphasis]. – Chappo Hasn't Forgotten Monica Dec 15 '18 at 9:05
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    I think the problem is your definition of 厌烦 is wrong. All four of the bilingual Chinese-English dictionaries I have available to hand translate it the same way I would: ‘be fed up with, be sick of, be bored with, have had enough of’. One even has an example usage with 使: 「他使我厌烦死了」 translated as “He bored me to death”. Boring someone is of course one way of annoying someone, but 使厌烦 doesn’t mean ‘annoy’ as such in standard Mandarin. That would be 烦人 or 烦恼 or something along those lines instead. Or even just 烦 (「烦死我了!」 “How annoying!”). – Janus Bahs Jacquet Dec 15 '18 at 10:01

According to Oxford Living Dictionary these adjectives are not synonyms.


Not interesting; tedious.
- ‘I've got a boring job in an office’

(Synonyms: tedious, dull, monotonous).



Causing irritation or annoyance.
- ‘unsolicited calls are annoying’

(Synonyms: irritating, infuriating, exasperating, maddening, trying, tiresome, troublesome, bothersome, irksome, vexing, vexatious, galling, provoking, displeasing).


You can read the definitions of the two words and you may find, though they use different words to describe them, they seem to be talking about the same thing. One might lead to the other (as an inference), but that is not necessary and native speakers would not confuse these for each other. The primary difference is that:

  • 'annoying' is something that is actively bothering you. A loud noise, or something that keeps interrupting you.

  • 'boring' is something that is dull and lifeless, or at least seems so to you.

Both are things that you'd rather stop, but you wouldn't mistake one for the other, and so you wouldn't consider them synonyms. Of course something that is boring may well be annoying you (because it is so boring), but that doesn't make the two concepts the same.

Note that even if the lists of synonyms for each overlap, that doesn't guarantee that they are synonymous. (in mathematical terms, synonymy sounds like it should be an 'equivalence relation' but is not. 'synonymy' is more like 'near' rather than 'equal to'.

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