aggravate

verb
ag·gra·vate | \ˈa-grə-ˌvāt \
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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Synonyms & Antonyms for aggravate

Synonyms

complicate, exacerbate, worsen

Antonyms

allay, alleviate, assuage, ease, help, mitigate, relieve

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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

On Wednesday, a jury convicted Carter, 25, of aggravated assault and aggravated battery in the Oct. 2, 2016 attack in Scottdale, DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Yvette Jones said in a news release. Raisa Habersham, ajc, "DeKalb woman convicted of throwing hot grease in victim’s face," 13 July 2018 Kinner is being held without bail on nine counts of aggravated battery and six counts of injury to a child. Chris Harris, PEOPLE.com, "3-Year-Old Dies After Mass Stabbing at Her Birthday Party; Was Ethiopian Refugee Who Loved Princesses," 3 July 2018 Alejandro Done pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated rape, one count of rape, one count of assault with intent to rape, two counts of kidnapping, and one count of armed robbery, the Suffolk district attorney’s office said in a statement. Martin Finucane, BostonGlobe.com, "Man pleads guilty to late-night sexual assaults on Esplanade, in South Boston," 8 June 2018 One of the men charged in Stuckey’s shooting, Michael Wade, 27, was found guilty of aggravated battery with a firearm and sentenced in March to 28 years in prison, records show. Jason Meisner, chicagotribune.com, "Man given 5 1/2 years in prison for selling guns used in gang shootings, homicide," 2 May 2018 Sawyer pleaded not guilty to first-degree attempted murder, aggravated assault with a weapon and two counts of aggravated attempted murder after being accused of bringing a gun onto the campus of Fair Haven Union High School. Michael Livingston, latimes.com, "Vermont OKs gun controls, while Louisiana scuttles bid to raise age for buying assault weapons," 12 Apr. 2018 In December, a Johnson County jury found Kevin Eugene Hall guilty of aggravated battery and leaving the scene of an injury accident. Tony Rizzo, kansascity, "Drunk driver who gravely injured bicyclist in Shawnee gets prison | The Kansas City Star," 3 Apr. 2018 He was convicted in 2001 of aggravated robbery and attempting to take a weapon from a peace officer. Brooke A. Lewis, Houston Chronicle, "Man sentenced to 25 years for drug possession in Galveston," 28 Feb. 2018 Lane pleaded guilty in 2013 to three counts of aggravated murder and was sentenced to three life sentences. Mark Gillispie, The Seattle Times, "Judge: Administrators not liable for Ohio school shooting," 18 Feb. 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

5 Oct 2018

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

: to make (someone) angry : to annoy or bother (someone)

aggravate

verb
ag·gra·vate | \ˈa-grə-ˌvāt \
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 \
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 \
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 \ noun

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Comments on aggravate

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