ag·​gra·​vat·​ing | \ ˈa-grə-ˌvā-tiŋ How to pronounce aggravating (audio) \

Definition of aggravating

: arousing displeasure, impatience, or anger an aggravating habit

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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 aggravating in a Sentence

there's nothing so aggravating as a blaring car alarm that no one is paying any attention to
Recent Examples on the Web James Mielke, a video game designer who lives in downtown Manhattan, found the alerts more aggravating than useful. Bobby Caina Calvan, USA TODAY, 4 Sep. 2021 The most aggravating was at a rare Neil Young solo appearance a few years back, where a few rude fans kept yelling out song requests and other nonsense between, and even during, the songs. Piet Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 9 July 2021 Even more aggravating to Democrats is the odd logic Sinema applied to her opposition to changing Senate rules. Zachary B. Wolf, CNN, 3 June 2021 But many consumers find overdraftfees to be highly aggravating, too, and the new system may help avoid unwelcome surprises. Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, 11 June 2021 Tenants and landlords alike described the process as glitchy, difficult and aggravating. Washington Post, 4 June 2021 The district court did not improperly preclude Roof from introducing mitigating evidence or admit improper aggravating evidence that characterized Roof or the parishioners in a prejudicial way, and any error was harmless. Eliott C. Mclaughlin, CNN, 25 May 2021 Without another season, American Gods would end on one of the most aggravating cliffhangers of all time. Christian Holub,, 22 Mar. 2021 The most recent, and so far most aggravating aspect of this is that his parents were supposed to stay at our cottage over a long weekend. Washington Post, 11 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'aggravating.' 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 aggravating

1673, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for aggravating

from present participle of aggravate

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Time Traveler for aggravating

Time Traveler

The first known use of aggravating was in 1673

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Dictionary Entries Near aggravating

aggravated larceny



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Statistics for aggravating

Last Updated

8 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Aggravating.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Sep. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on aggravating

Nglish: Translation of aggravating for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of aggravating for Arabic Speakers


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