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.
: to make worse or more serious <aggravate an injury><Don't aggravate an already bad situation.>
: to make angry usually by bothering again and again <All of these delays really aggravate me.>
Word Root of AGGRAVATE
The Latin word gravis, meaning “heavy” or “serious,” gives us the root grav. Words from the Latin gravis have something to do with heaviness or seriousness. Something grave, or important, such as a situation, requires serious thought and consideration. To aggravate is to make a situation more serious. Gravity is a force that pulls everything towards the ground making it feel heavy.
transitive verbag·gra·vate \ˈag-rə-ˌvāt\
Medical Definition of AGGRAVATE
: to make worse, more serious, or more severe <movement may aggravate the pain>
: to produce inflammation in :irritate<surgery aggravateed the nerve>