: to make worse, more serious, or more severe : intensify unpleasantly <problems have been aggravated by neglect>
Usage Discussion of AGGRAVATE
Although aggravate has been used in sense 3a since the 17th century, it has been the object of disapproval only since about 1870. It is used in expository prose <when his silly conceit … about his not-very-good early work has begun to aggravate us — William Styron> but seems to be more common in speech and casual writing <a good profession for him, because bus drivers get aggravated — Jackie Gleason (interview, 1986)> <& now this letter comes to aggravate me a thousand times worse — Mark Twain (letter, 1864)>. Sense 2 is far more common than sense 3a in published prose. Such is not the case, however, with aggravation and aggravating. Aggravation is used in sense 3 somewhat more than in its earlier senses; aggravating has practically no use other than to express annoyance.