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 The Arizona Supreme Court ordered a new trial for Lynch in 2010 after an aggravating factor was applied improperly. Lauren Castle, azcentral, "Juan Martinez should be reprimanded, Arizona Supreme Court rules," 30 Apr. 2020 By April, Wilson and Clemenceau had argued themselves into a mutually aggravating deadlock. Steve Coll, The New Yorker, "Woodrow Wilson’s Case of the Flu, and How Pandemics Change History," 17 Apr. 2020 There’s nothing more aggravating than trying to light a grill or campfire with a weak, wimpy lighter. The Editors, Field & Stream, "Three Lighters Perfect for Any Outdoors Situation," 14 Apr. 2020 Candidates have developed the aggravating practice of releasing positive fundraising totals to news reporters (without the entire report) to get a positive, earned media story. Gromer Jeffers Jr., Dallas News, "Coronavirus pandemic has halted economy, but not political fundraising in Texas," 6 Apr. 2020 Conflict loops, as professionals call them, can become aggravating facts of life. Lila Maclellan, Quartz at Work, "A counterterrorism expert explains how to deal with your mother and problem co-workers," 1 Mar. 2020 That’s the major in which Mickelson has six aggravating runner-up finishes. Ron Kroichick,, "Phil Mickelson on post-Pebble malaise: ‘The rest of the year crushed me’," 5 Feb. 2020 An analysis by Meders’ attorneys of Georgia cases for which the death penalty was sought between 2008 and 2018 shows that in cases like his, with a single victim and few aggravating factors, juries don’t choose the death penalty today. Washington Post, "Lawyers ask Georgia panel to spare condemned man’s life," 13 Jan. 2020 Egerton is also up against one of the most aggravating aspects of the Oscar-nominating system. Brooks Barnes, New York Times, "Taron Egerton Tries to Keep ‘Rocketman’ Performance in Orbit," 2 Jan. 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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Statistics for aggravating

Cite this Entry

“Aggravating.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Sep. 2020.

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