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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Anderson is being sought on charges that include aggravated assault, aggravated battery, terroristic threats and false imprisonment. Barnini Chakraborty, Fox News, "Georgia man on the run after tying up a woman, threatening to cut off her toes: police," 26 Nov. 2019 He was convicted in April 2018 of three counts of aggravated indecent assault for drugging and assaulting Constand in the first high-profile celebrity criminal trial of the #MeToo era. Darran Simon, CNN, "In his first interview since being sentenced, Bill Cosby says he doesn't expect to show remorse at parole time," 25 Nov. 2019 Brandon Vandewalker, 25, has been lodged in the Multnomah County jail on one count of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and one of first-degree aggravated theft. oregonlive, "25-year-old man arrested after allegedly stealing Portland fire truck," 23 Nov. 2019 Persaud, Pope and Whitehead are also facing charges of accessory after the fact to a capital felony and aggravated battery with great bodily harm. Tess Sheets, orlandosentinel.com, "5th arrest made in Airbnb ambush-murder plot tied to $100K drug deal," 22 Nov. 2019 Arturo Casillas, 20, of the 2700 block of Broadway Street, was charged with one felony count of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. Chuck Fieldman, chicagotribune.com, "Oak Brook police stranded motorist with loaded gun," 16 Nov. 2019 Kaiser, the alleged gunman, was charged with 14 counts, including eight felonies, four of which are Level 3 felony aggravated assault. Elizabeth Depompei, Indianapolis Star, "Indiana judges, a closed strip club and a White Castle: The story of a shooting," 15 Nov. 2019 Under Ohio Law: Felonious assault or aggravated battery? Steven F. Shundich, Cincinnati.com, "Guest TML: Did Browns' Myles Garrett commit felonious assault or aggravated battery?," 15 Nov. 2019 The man may face multiple charges, including felony possession and aggravated assault of a peace officer, Baimbridge said. Michelle Iracheta, Houston Chronicle, "Houston SWAT deploy tear gas, armored vehicle in standoff against man in Third Ward," 1 Nov. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about aggravate

Time Traveler for aggravate

Time Traveler

The first known use of aggravate was in 1530

See more words from the same year

Statistics for aggravate

Last Updated

30 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Aggravate.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aggravate?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=a&file=aggrav01. Accessed 11 December 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for aggravate

aggravate

verb
How to pronounce aggravate (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on aggravate

What made you want to look up aggravate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

heavy with or as if with moisture

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Semantic Drift Quiz

  • a twisty river
  • Which of the following was once a synonym for fun?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!