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

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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 Thielen, who aggravated his right hamstring injury and was lost for the game in the first quarter last Sunday at Kansas City, did not practice all week and will sit out for the second time in three weeks. Chris Tomasson, Twin Cities, "Vikings’ Adam Thielen, Linval Joseph ruled out for Sunday’s game at Dallas," 8 Nov. 2019 Adam Thielen left late in the first quarter after aggravating a hamstring injury that first occurred against Detroit, and kept him out last week against Washington. BostonGlobe.com, "The reigning league MVP, who missed his second straight game while recovering from a dislocated kneecap, looked just fine as he joined Butker and the rest of his Kansas City teammates in a midfield mob after their heart-stopping, 26-23 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.," 4 Nov. 2019 Fournette finishes with 284 yards rushing in his first action since aggravating a left ankle injury on Sept. 24. Paul Montella, San Diego Union-Tribune, "AP Sportlight," 20 Oct. 2019 She was taken into custody and charged with resisting arrest and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. New York Times, "Fort Worth Police Have More Violence to Answer For, Residents Say," 20 Oct. 2019 Mendoza is also charged with aggravated assault against a public servant and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Taylor Pettaway, ExpressNews.com, "Police chief, sheriff at odds over chase, traffic accident that left officer injured," 4 Oct. 2019 Having aggravated his quad injury, Hilton is questionable heading into an appealing matchup against the Raiders. John Romero, The Denver Post, "Fantasy football cheat sheet: Week 4 updates on Courtland Sutton, Alshon Jeffery, Preston Williams," 25 Sep. 2019 Considering Laureano missed 32 games from July 29 through Sept. 5 because of a stress reaction in his shin, A’s fans might have been concerned that Laureano had aggravated the injury. Steve Kroner, SFChronicle.com, "A’s Ramon Laureano not hurt after making fine catch in foul territory," 21 Sep. 2019 The 18-year-old, Edison Valdes, and the 13-year-old were both arrested and charged with robbery with a firearm and aggravated battery. Tiffini Theisen, orlandosentinel.com, "Boy, 13, steals from online seller in firearm-involved robbery; victim hurt falling from getaway car, deputies say," 11 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

Time Traveler for aggravate

Time Traveler

The first known use of aggravate was in 1530

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Statistics for aggravate

Last Updated

16 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Aggravate.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aggravates. Accessed 22 November 2019.

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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

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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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