ag·​gra·​va·​tion | \ˌa-grə-ˈvā-shən \

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.

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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 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Load up some apps to save money, time and aggravation, while traveling this summer. Marc Saltzman, USA TODAY, "Seriously, save money on gas, hotels and shopping with these 8 apps," 26 June 2018 Save yourself time and aggravation by double-checking your flight times. Scott Mcmurren, Anchorage Daily News, "Got a red-eye flight coming up? Here’s how to make it a little more bearable," 14 Apr. 2018 This service may even include determining if the potential buyer is even qualified to submit an offer, saving you time and aggravation. Kenya Burrell-vanwormer, Houston Chronicle, "Realtor View: Buyer’s personality can affect sale," 1 July 2018 An ounce of prevention is worth a whole lot more aggravation later. Sally Mccabe,, "June 15-21: In the garden, it's time to…," 15 June 2018 The mayor of Orange Beach, on Alabama's Gulf Coast, said Alberto brought rain and aggravation — and dashed hopes for record Memorial Day crowds. CBS News, "Subtropical Storm Alberto makes landfall on Laguna Beach, Florida -- live updates," 28 May 2018 DeGrow noted Schuette, who inherited valuable stock in Dow Chemical Co., where his father and stepfather were top officials, doesn't need the paycheck or the aggravation associated with holding public office. Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press, "How 1 lost election changed Michigan governor candidate Bill Schuette," 25 May 2018 Then again, with her mucho millions in the bank, role as non-executive co-chair of Farfetch, a new career as an investor with her venture capital firm Imaginary Ventures and a baby at home, who needs the aggravation? Kara Bloomgarden-smoke | Wwd,, "If Anna Wintour leaves Vogue, who will take over? Here are a few guesses," 19 Apr. 2018 The softer surface provides less aggravation to her shins. Matt Case,, "Murphy, Gorgenyi quick out of the gate," 4 May 2018

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.

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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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English Language Learners Definition of aggravation

: the act or result of making a condition, injury, etc., worse : the act or result of aggravating something

: something that annoys or bothers someone : something that aggravates someone


ag·​gra·​va·​tion | \ˌa-grə-ˈvā-shən \

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.

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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).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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