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.

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.
Recent Examples on the Web By using the grinders, my mom avoids joint aggravation brought on by the rigorous yet necessary endeavor of grinding fresh pepper, transforming a former pain point into dazzling kitchen performance art. Taylor Feezor, Bon Appétit, 1 Apr. 2022 The small, round hydrocolloid stickers help heal acne without drying it out while protecting skin from further environmental aggravation, Dr. Ko Lamm says. Devon Abelman, Allure, 16 Feb. 2022 How in the world, amid all this struggle and aggravation, will Bears players find a way to stay locked in? Dan Wiederer,, 6 Dec. 2021 But that doesn't mean there might not be some political aggravation along the way as Johnson seeks to fill out the term left by ex-mayor Tom Barrett, who is now U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg. Bill Glauber, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 9 Mar. 2022 LaVine sat out Saturday’s 106-101 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder due to an aggravation in his left knee. Julia Poe,, 13 Feb. 2022 One of these is aggravation of the nerves of the inner foot and ankle. Jordan Duncan, Outside Online, 12 May 2021 Though invisible to shoppers, interchange fees are a constant source of aggravation for merchants. Annamaria Andriotis, WSJ, 8 Mar. 2022 To his fans, Diaz is an attitude personified: A glowering stare, a middle finger, a constant aggravation with all authority that plays superbly among fans of this highly individual, violent sport. oregonlive, 25 Sep. 2021 See More

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.

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

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The first known use of aggravation was in 1546

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Last Updated

30 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Aggravation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for aggravation


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on aggravation

Nglish: Translation of aggravation for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of aggravation for Arabic Speakers


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