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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Nuisance \Nui"sance\, n. [OE. noisance, OF. noisance, nuisance, fr. L. nocentia guilt, fr. nocere to hurt, harm; akin to necare to kill. Cf Necromancy, Nocent, Noxious, Pernicious.] That which annoys or gives trouble and vexation; that which is offensive or noxious. [1913 Webster] Note: Nuisances are public when they annoy citizens in general; private, when they affect individuals only. [1913 Webster]