aggravate

verb
ag·​gra·​vate | \ ˈa-grə-ˌvāt How to pronounce aggravate (audio) \
aggravated; aggravating

Definition of aggravate

transitive verb

1 : to make worse, more serious, or more severe : to intensify unpleasantly problems have been aggravated by neglect
2a : to rouse to displeasure or anger by usually persistent and often petty goading were aggravated by the noise and traffic
b : to produce inflammation in

3 obsolete

a : to make heavy : burden
b : increase

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Common Uses of Aggravate, Aggravation, and Aggravating: Usage Guide

Although aggravate has been used to refer to rousing someone to anger 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 The "make worse" meaning is far more common in published prose than the "rouse to anger" meaning. Such is not the case, however, with aggravation and aggravating. Aggravation is used in the "irritation, provocation" sense somewhat more than in its earlier senses; aggravating has practically no use other than to express annoyance.

Examples of aggravate in a Sentence

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Days before the draft on June 21, Porter tried giving it a go once more and re-aggravated the injury. Chris Fedor, cleveland.com, "John Beilein still getting used to NBA and other observations from Cleveland Cavaliers summer league," 2 July 2019 Then against Northwestern the following Saturday, Butler appeared somewhat slowed again before appearing to re-aggravate his shoulder early in the second quarter. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Josh Butler might be Michigan State football's next lockdown corner," 2 July 2019 After a day and a half of deliberations, a Snohomish County jury found William Earl Talbott II guilty on two counts of aggravated murder in the first degree for the deaths of the young Canadian couple. Megan Molteni, WIRED, "Man Found Guilty in a Murder Mystery Cracked By Cousins’ DNA," 28 June 2019 Center Kevon Looney, who missed much of Game 5 after aggravating a fracture near his chest that sidelined him for Game 3, played through the pain Thursday for six points, three rebounds and four assists in 27 minutes. Connor Letourneau, SFChronicle.com, "Warriors’ season over: Klay Thompson tears ACL in Game 6 loss to Raptors," 14 June 2019 The next year he was bothered by ankle and finger injuries, aggravated his shoulder injury and underwent postseason surgeries on his shoulder, neck and elbow. Will Larkin, chicagotribune.com, "Ranking the 100 best Bears ever: No. 85, Kyle Long," 13 June 2019 Kevin Durant appears to aggravate his calf injury and heads to the locker room early in the second quarter. Mark Heim | Mheim@al.com, al.com, "Tearful Warriors GM Bob Myers on Kevin Durant: ‘It’s an Achilles injury ... you can blame me’," 10 June 2019 Then, during a tree-planting ceremony, the young president sprained his back, aggravating a debilitating injury that required treatment for the rest of his life. Amanda Coletta, Washington Post, "Justin isn’t the first Trudeau to clash with an American president," 14 June 2018 If those issues persist, the team won’t risk aggravating the injury. Josh Robbins, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Jonathan Isaac appears unlikely to play again this season," 6 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'aggravate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of aggravate

1530, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for aggravate

borrowed from Latin aggravātus, past participle of aggravāre "to weigh down, burden, oppress, make worse," from ad- ad- + gravāre "to make heavy, weigh down," verbal derivative of gravis "heavy" — more at grieve

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Learn More about aggravate

Statistics for aggravate

Last Updated

13 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for aggravate

The first known use of aggravate was in 1530

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More Definitions for aggravate

aggravate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of aggravate

: to make (an injury, problem, etc.) more serious or severe
informal : to make (someone) angry : to annoy or bother (someone)

aggravate

verb
ag·​gra·​vate | \ ˈa-grə-ˌvāt How to pronounce aggravate (audio) \
aggravated; aggravating

Kids Definition of aggravate

1 : to make worse or more serious aggravate an injury Don't aggravate an already bad situation.
2 : to make angry usually by bothering again and again All of these delays really aggravate me.

aggravate

transitive verb
ag·​gra·​vate | \ ˈag-rə-ˌvāt How to pronounce aggravate (audio) \
aggravated; aggravating

Medical Definition of aggravate

1 : to make worse, more serious, or more severe movement may aggravate the pain
2 : to produce inflammation in : irritate surgery aggravated the nerve

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aggravate

transitive verb
ag·​gra·​vate | \ ˈa-grə-ˌvāt How to pronounce aggravate (audio) \
aggravated; aggravating

Legal Definition of aggravate

: to make more serious, more severe, or worse maliciousness aggravated the offense aggravating factors — compare mitigate

Other Words from aggravate

aggravation \ ˌa-​grə-​ˈvā-​shən How to pronounce aggravation (audio) \ noun

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Comments on aggravate

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