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

The court said the U.S. should take no further steps to aggravate the dispute, which could mean refraining from imposing further financial and energy sanctions that Washington plans to enact in November. Laurence Norman, WSJ, "U.N. Court Orders U.S. to Lift Iran Sanctions on Humanitarian Goods," 3 Oct. 2018 Cooper also pleaded guilty Thursday to aggravated kidnapping, but Judge William Hooks delayed his sentencing to give his lawyer more time to prepare an argument for leniency. Megan Crepeau, chicagotribune.com, "Last of 4 defendants pleads guilty to beating teen with disability in livestreamed Facebook attack," 12 July 2018 In November 2017, Washington pleaded guilty in federal court in Kansas City, Mo., to making a false statement on his tax return and to aggravated identity theft. Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY, "Former NBA player Kermit Washington sentenced to six years in federal prison for charity fraud," 10 July 2018 The former mayor of south suburban Monee who was accused of punching an umpire at a youth baseball and breaking his jaw pleaded guilty Thursday to aggravated battery, according to court records. Alicia Fabbre, Daily Southtown, "Ex-Monee mayor who was accused of breaking ump's jaw at youth baseball game pleads guilty to aggravated battery, records show," 29 June 2018 The decision stemmed from an appeal by Allen Eugene Gregory, who was first sentenced to death in 2001 for aggravated first-degree murder. Sara Randazzo, WSJ, "Washington’s Highest Court Strikes Down State’s Death Penalty," 11 Oct. 2018 After Malinowski passed away in June 2017, at 33, the charges against Slager were upgraded to aggravated murder and he was scheduled to go on trial this month. Adam Carlson, PEOPLE.com, "Mom-of-2 Describes Horror of Boyfriend Lighting Her on Fire as He Pleads to Her Murder: 'Pure Evil'," 11 July 2018 On June 6, Porter, 61, pleaded not guilty in Multnomah County Circuit Court to three counts of attempted aggravated murder, three counts of first-degree assault and three counts of failure to perform duties of a driver to injured persons. Kristi Turnquist, OregonLive.com, "Woman injured in PSU hit-and-run says 'it's been difficult,' shares charity fundraising goal," 10 June 2018 Skylar Richardson was expected to stand trial for aggravated murder and other charges on Monday. Keith Bierygolick, Cincinnati.com, "The murder case started with a tip from an OB-GYN. Now, attorneys in buried baby case want that testimony barred," 12 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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Statistics for aggravate

Last Updated

18 May 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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