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

In the penalty phase of the Christensen case, prosecutors will present aggravating factors to the crime, while the defense will present mitigating factors and are likely to call on witnesses to make their case. Jamie Munks,, "Jury to consider whether U. of I. killer Brendt Christensen should die for kidnapping, slaying of Chinese scholar Yingying Zhang," 7 July 2019 An aggravating factor is that Mr Erdogan does not place much faith in his relationship with the West. P.z. | Istanbul, The Economist, "Turkey’s row with America over Russian military hardware," 26 July 2019 The Preah Sihanouk provincial court said the Chinese owner of the building in Sihanoukville was charged with unintentional homicide, involuntarily causing injuries and aggravating circumstances that cause injury. Washington Post, "Cambodia charges 7, including Chinese, in building collapse," 25 June 2019 They were also arrested in a school zone, considered an aggravating factor in the state. Tim Carman, Washington Post, "D.C. chef who served Obama faces felony cocaine charges after arrest in Delaware beach town," 12 June 2019 There’s nothing more aggravating to an Aries than procrastination and slow-moving plans. Alice Bell, Vogue, "What Astrology Tells Us About Martin Margiela’s and Marc Jacobs’s Shared Birthday," 9 Apr. 2019 After Kate's water broke and she was admitted to the hospital, Miguel was, arguably, the most chill person in the waiting room — well, besides Madison and that incredibly aggravating Rold Gold pretzel lady. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'This Is Us' Fans Are Furious With Miguel After Watching the Latest Episode," 13 Mar. 2019 One of the most aggravating issues of the immigration debate has been the uneasy relationship between Washington and the states on enforcing the law. Paul Thornton,, "Jeff Sessions does California and the U.S. a favor," 10 Mar. 2018 However, over the years, steam radiators can start producing some very aggravating sounds, including banging, knocking, whistling, and squeaking. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How to Silence a Noisy Steam Radiator," 11 Dec. 2018

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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Statistics for aggravating

Last Updated

13 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for aggravating

The first known use of aggravating was in 1673

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Comments on aggravating

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


a usually brief trip or an expedition

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