Context is (source):

Okay, that’s vaguely annoying in an over-enthusiatic motivational speaker kind of way, but I’ll permit it – because what this turns into is genuinely so joyful.

Could you explain to me, what phrase

...vaguely annoying in an over-enthusiatic motivational speaker kind of way...


Update. It seems I don't understand what vaguely annoying means...

  • It's vaguely annoying when somebody asks you what "IDK" means. It's really annoying when you reply "I don't know!" and they go "OMG! nobody does." – Renae Lider Oct 29 '14 at 10:04
  • Just FYI, the author doesn't intend for her statement to be completely clear, because she knows her rhetorical skills are lacking to describe her feelings. She is using a rather long clause to try and express how she felt the person was annoying. The word "vaguely" by itself supports this; "vaguely" means "unclear" or "not well-defined." The author assumes that you've seen at least one motivational speaker perform, and that you've found them annoying in the past. Otherwise, it will be difficult to empathize with her. She relies on that connection because she can't describe the feeling well. – Crazy Eyes Oct 7 '15 at 18:44

Imagine a fly buzzing in your ear. It is annoying. Now imagine you are sitting in your room trying to read, and something is bothering you. After some time, you notice your neighbor's stereo is on, and you realize the bass vibrations were bothering you. It was vaguely annoying, but you couldn't pinpoint it. Now imagine a speaker who is telling you all about how to fix your life. Some of what they say makes sense. Some of what they say is good advice. Some of what they say is helpful. But for some reason, you find them annoying, and you aren't quite certain why. They are vaguely annoying.

  • Just an excellent explanation! Very creative! +1 – Denis Kulagin Oct 28 '14 at 14:39

"Vaguely annoying": annoying but only just noticeably so.

"In a [x] kind of way": In a similar manner to [x].

"Over-enthusiastic": enthusiastic to the point that it becomes annoying.

"Motivational speaker": someone who gives lectures about how to motivate yourself.

So they are comparing the the way the dancer talks to that of an over-enthusiastic motivational speaker.

  • 3
    Over-enthusiastic does not imply an annoying quality. You have inferred that from the context of the question. What it does imply is that the enthusiasm has an element of redundancy in the enthusiasm. The speaker is enthusiastic to excess, to a fault and perhaps damaging the message. – Gusdor Oct 28 '14 at 12:14
  • 6
    @Gusdor I can't think of a way that being over-enthusiastic is not annoying. – Matt Ellen Oct 28 '14 at 12:17
  • If I had mentored a salesman and he marketed a product in an over-enthusiastic manner, I might be disappointed rather than annoyed. – Gusdor Oct 28 '14 at 12:21
  • 1
    Minor gripes: Vague doesn't mean barely noticeable. Something can be very noticeable and still very vague. And a person can be overly enthusiastic in solitude. It wouldn't annoy anyone at all. – Carl Smith Oct 29 '14 at 9:28
  • @CarlSmith sure, in general, but in the context it does mean that. – Matt Ellen Oct 29 '14 at 9:39

"Vaguely annoying" would be understood to mean "annoying, but you cannot say exactly what qualities of the thing are irritating you". Something about it rubs you the wrong way.

See 2b here: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vaguely


The sentence in concern has too many adjectives and that might have confused you. Starting dancing this way could be vague and he invited everyone to join, that's even strange. But try to group those adjectives and the sentence might look better.

Okay, that’s [vaguely annoying] in an [over-enthusiatic motivational speaker] kind of way, but...

Let's not judge the event but what it means is the dancing and invitation both was done in a way some over-enthusiastic motivational speaker would do.

Not exact but this could be something like...

You dance in an MJ way.

means you dance the way MJ danced.

Said that, this is vaguely annoying. How? In a way some over-enthusiastic motivational speaker would speak.

Edit after OP's comment:

Here, vaguely means slightly. It was a bit strange and so slightly annoying that he was about to dance that way by inviting people.

  • It seems I don't understand what vaguely annoying means... – Denis Kulagin Oct 28 '14 at 8:56
  • @Maulik_V Yep, but how does it comes along with annoying? Strangelly annoying?) – Denis Kulagin Oct 28 '14 at 9:04
  • Answer edited after your comment. – Maulik V Oct 28 '14 at 9:18

It basically means that the person was annoying, but there was nothing specifically annoying about them. Their character was generally annoying. This is described as being a bit like a motivational speaker, who tend to be overly positive, hyperactive and use too many buzzwords etc. These habits are tolerable when a person has one or two, but the whole package is often abrasive.

You can easily infer from the choice of words, "vaguely annoying", that it was still pretty minor. People who're seriously upset, know exactly what they're upset about.


I don't think the phrase "vaguely annoying" makes sense. You can't pair the two words because they are contradictory. According to the English Oxford dictionary annoy means "make SLIGHTLY angry." Therefore the degree of your anger is expressed in the word "annoy." Adding the adv. vaguely is like saying you are uncertain and yet certain how angry something makes you feel. But that's just my opinion.

In South Africa we have a word for what I suspect you are looking for and it"s called Tjatjarag! The Tja - is pronounced like "Char" in charcoal and - rag like rah - g, but the g is pronounced from the throat like the Spaniards (if not the Italians) when saying Gulio. "Char - char - rah - g"

It means "Over-enthusiastic in an annoying manner"

For a video that will give you a clear idea how to use it check out Julius Malema when he throws it to a BBC journalist asking a question.

protected by Jasper Oct 7 '15 at 20:59

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