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

This is all aggravated by uncertainty over global trade — which is keeping investors everywhere in suspense. Frida Ghitis For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, "America-first trade policy is crushing the global economy," 1 Sep. 2019 Adam Joiner, 41, who turned himself in to authorities on Tuesday, was charged with wire fraud, money laundering and aggravated identity theft, according to the U.S. attorney’s office. Los Angeles Times, "Investors fell for a star-studded Netflix film. It was a $14-million scam, prosecutors say," 28 Aug. 2019 This would aggravate the problem, particularly on weekends, potentially discouraging diners and shoppers. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Escondido planners approve six-story downtown apartment building," 28 Aug. 2019 Meggie was charged with two aggravated manslaughter counts and two counts of tampering or fabricating the medical record evidence. al, "Florida nursing home employees charged in 12 Hurricane Irma deaths," 27 Aug. 2019 Piscotty aggravated the injury on a swing in Saturday night’s 10-5 loss to the Giants. Steve Kroner, SFChronicle.com, "A’s Stephen Piscotty to go on injured list because of high ankle sprain," 25 Aug. 2019 James Reardon is being held on $250,000 bond in the Mahoning County Jail on telecommunication harassment and aggravated menacing charges, records show. Cliff Pinckard, cleveland.com, "Police say suburban Youngstown man posted threats toward Jewish community center: The Wake Up for Monday, Aug. 19, 2019," 19 Aug. 2019 James Reardon, 20, was being held on a $250,000 bond on charges of aggravated menacing and telecommunications harassment, Sgt. Fox News, "Ohio man accused of threatening to attack Jewish community center," 19 Aug. 2019 Middletown Police are searching for a man wanted on charges of rape, kidnapping and aggravated arson. Sarah Brookbank, Cincinnati.com, "Man facing rape, kidnapping and arson charges wanted in Middletown," 25 July 2019

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

7 Sep 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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