The word bother has many shades of meaning, but most of them involve trouble of some sort. You might wonder why you should bother to follow a recipe, until you taste what you've made without one.

As a verb, bother can mean that you take the trouble to do something. It’s often presented as a negative: you might not bother to lock the house, or you may wonder why you should bother reading the instructions that came with your phone. Bother can also mean that you’re bugging someone or causing a minor inconvenience. The word can also have a sense of deeper worry, especially when something is bothering you, like a nagging sense of guilt.

Definitions of bother
  1. verb
    cause annoyance in; disturb, especially by minor irritations
    “Mosquitoes buzzing in my ear really bothers me”
    synonyms: annoy, chafe, devil, get at, get to, gravel, irritate, nark, nettle, rag, rile, vex
    feel extreme irritation or anger
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    get, get under one's skin
    eat into, fester, fret, gnaw, grate, rankle
    gnaw into; make resentful or angry
    cause to be annoyed, irritated, or resentful
    trouble or vex
    cause annoyance in
    beset, chevvy, chevy, chivvy, chivy, harass, harry, hassle, molest, plague, provoke
    annoy continually or chronically
    antagonise, antagonize
    provoke the hostility of
    goad, needle
    goad or provoke, as by constant criticism
    bedevil, crucify, dun, frustrate, rag, torment
    treat cruelly
    harass by imposing humiliating or painful tasks, as in military institutions
    type of:
    give displeasure to
  2. verb
    cause inconvenience or discomfort to
    synonyms: discommode, disoblige, incommode, inconvenience, put out, trouble
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    distress, straiten
    bring into difficulties or distress, especially financial hardship
    type of:
    affect, bear on, bear upon, impact, touch, touch on
    have an effect upon
  3. verb
    intrude or enter uninvited
    “Don't bother the professor while she is grading term papers”
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    type of:
    intrude, irrupt
    enter uninvited
  4. verb
    make confused or perplexed or puzzled
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    confuse, disconcert, flurry, put off
    cause to feel embarrassment
  5. verb
    make nervous or agitated
    “The mere thought of her bothered him and made his heart beat faster”
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    agitate, charge, charge up, commove, excite, rouse, turn on
    cause to be agitated, excited, or roused
  6. verb
    take the trouble to do something; concern oneself
    “Don't bother, please”
    synonyms: inconvenience oneself, trouble, trouble oneself
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    type of:
    reach, strain, strive
    to exert much effort or energy
  7. noun
    something or someone that causes trouble; a source of unhappiness
    “a bit of a bother
    synonyms: annoyance, botheration, infliction, pain, pain in the ass, pain in the neck
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    (law) a broad legal concept including anything that disturbs the reasonable use of your property or endangers life and health or is offensive
    irritant, thorn
    something that causes irritation and annoyance
    an annoyance
    abatable nuisance
    a nuisance that can remedied (suppressed or extinguished or rendered harmless)
    attractive nuisance
    anything on your premises that might attract children into danger or harm
    mixed nuisance
    a nuisance that is both a public nuisance and a private nuisance at the same time
    private nuisance
    a nuisance that interferes with your interest in and private use and enjoyment of your land
    common nuisance, public nuisance
    a nuisance that unreasonably interferes with a right that is common to the general public
    type of:
    negative stimulus
    a stimulus with undesirable consequences
  8. noun
    an angry disturbance
    “a spot of bother
    synonyms: fuss, hassle, trouble
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    type of:
    disturbance, perturbation
    activity that is a malfunction, intrusion, or interruption
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