Simple Definition of aggravate
: to make (an injury, problem, etc.) more serious or severe
: to make (someone) angry : to annoy or bother (someone)
Full Definition of aggravate
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.
Examples of aggravate
She aggravated an old knee injury.
They're afraid that we might aggravate an already bad situation.
A headache can be aggravated by too much exercise.
The symptoms were aggravated by drinking alcohol.
All of these delays really aggravate me.
Our neighbors were aggravated by all the noise.
Origin of aggravate
Latin aggravatus, past participle of aggravare to make heavier, from ad- + gravare to burden, from gravis heavy — more at grieve
First Known Use: 1530
Rhymes with aggravate
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