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

That move, which had limited the time for lawmakers to find a way to prevent Britain from crashing out of the European Union on Oct. 31 without a deal, angered the opposition and aggravated divisions within his own party. Megan Specia, BostonGlobe.com, "Brexit confusion: What is going on in Great Britain?," 4 Sep. 2019 Others see austerity as an aggravating factor in a complex picture of unhealthy lifestyles compounded by poverty, lack of opportunity and hopelessness. Stephen Castle, New York Times, "Shortchanged: Why British Life Expectancy Is Falling," 30 Aug. 2019 Dallas is trending with double-digit percentage increases in robberies and aggravated assaults over the same time last year. David Tarrant, Dallas News, "Dallas police have seized 200 guns as summer campaign aims to stem violence," 16 Aug. 2019 Ware, who the complaint states was lying in the back seat of the vehicle while Dargartz made the withdrawal, pleaded guilty in a Michigan court in August to conspiring to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. Mario Ariza, sun-sentinel.com, "Is the Felony Lane Gang at it again? Man held in ID theft heist," 17 Sep. 2019 Rogelio Alberto Guardado, 72, pleaded guilty last week to aggravated assault of a family member causing serious bodily injury just as the case was to go to trial, Harris County prosecutors said. Hannah Dellinger, Houston Chronicle, "Man who ran over ex-girlfriend four times sentenced to 20 years," 16 Sep. 2019 Bosa did not practice Wednesday and Thursday after aggravating his right ankle issue on the opening snap of that 31-17 win over the Bucs. Cam Inman, The Mercury News, "49ers-Bengals pregame: Nick Bosa, Joe Mixon suiting up," 15 Sep. 2019 Newcastle are concerned that summer signing Allan Saint-Maximin will remain sidelined for another month, having aggravated his hamstring problem suffered in the win over Tottenham. SI.com, "Update on Allan Saint-Maximin's Injury Ahead of Newcastle's Clash With Liverpool," 12 Sep. 2019 Burley, 54, is charged with one count of first-degree aggravated robbery. Sarah Horner, Twin Cities, "Man with lengthy criminal history charged with holding up Little Canada bank at gunpoint," 9 Sep. 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

19 Oct 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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