ag·​gra·​va·​tion | \ ˌa-grə-ˈvā-shən How to pronounce aggravation (audio) \

Definition of aggravation

1 : an act or circumstance that intensifies something or makes something worse His interference was an aggravation of the situation.
2 : the act, action, or result of aggravating something or someone especially : an increasing in seriousness or severity aggravation of an injury
3 : irritation, provocation Her job involves a lot of stress and aggravation.

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 aggravation in a Sentence

trying to avoid the aggravation of an existing back problem I don't need all this aggravation. This car has caused me nothing but aggravation. Many talented people now feel that a career in politics isn't worth all the aggravation. I don't need all these aggravations.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Robinson could play a big role later this week if Brown, whose rib injury was actually an aggravation of an injury suffered in practice in mid-September, is unable to play Thursday. Dallas News, "Say his name: Unknown Cowboys player has big role in fourth quarter of win over Vikings," 23 Nov. 2020 But the incoming administration is going to have trouble ignoring Trump, who’s poised to remain at least an aggravation to Biden. Tribune News Service, al, "Biden’s strategy for a predecessor who won’t go away: Ignore him," 3 Jan. 2021 The interviews found widespread Democratic aggravation with the electoral process but little expectation that the rush of anti-Trump maneuvering can stop him. James Freeman, WSJ, "What Will We Do Without Trump?," 15 Dec. 2020 It's not known if this injury is a re-aggravation of the old one or a new injury. Amie Just | Staff Writer,, "Saints' Andrus Peat, Ty Montgomery ruled out for game vs. Broncos, Deonte Harris questionable," 27 Nov. 2020 The tariffs are the latest aggravation in rapidly deteriorating relations between Australia and its largest trading partner, China. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, "China slaps 200% anti-dumping tariffs on Australian wine as relations continue to sour," 27 Nov. 2020 Samuell Williamson’s return is also a boon following his patella tendon aggravation. Shannon Russell, The Courier-Journal, "The wait is over. Louisville basketball nears its season opener against Evansville," 24 Nov. 2020 So spend a few extra dollars and save yourself the aggravation. Joe Genzel, Outdoor Life, "The Ultimate Walk-In Duck Hunting Gear I Can’t Live Without," 5 Nov. 2020 That was my aggravation on the first day of our test of digital riflescopes versus the year’s best analog scopes. Andrew Mckean, Outdoor Life, "Are Smart Scopes the Hunting Tool of the Future or Shortcuts to Close-Enough Accuracy?," 24 Sep. 2020

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

1546, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for aggravation

borrowed from Late Latin aggravātiōn-, aggravātiō "a weighing down," from Latin aggravāre "to weigh down, aggravate" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of action nouns

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about aggravation

Time Traveler for aggravation

Time Traveler

The first known use of aggravation was in 1546

See more words from the same year

Statistics for aggravation

Last Updated

24 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Aggravation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for aggravation


How to pronounce aggravation (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of aggravation

: the act or result of making a condition, injury, etc., worse : the act or result of aggravating something
informal : something that annoys or bothers someone : something that aggravates someone


ag·​gra·​va·​tion | \ ˌa-grə-ˈvā-shən How to pronounce aggravation (audio) \

Kids Definition of aggravation

1 : an act or the result of making worse or more serious All that walking resulted in aggravation of an existing knee injury.
2 : something that annoys or bothers someone The constant noise was a source of aggravation.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on aggravation

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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