ag·​gress ə-ˈgres How to pronounce aggress (audio)
aggressed; aggressing; aggresses

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Aggress and its more familiar relatives aggression and aggressive derive from the Latin verb aggredī, meaning "to approach, attack, or undertake." Although the modern word aggress carries only the second of these three meanings, the word could when it was first used in English in the 16th century also mean "to approach." That use is now obsolete. There also exists a noun aggress, which is too rare to qualify for entry in even our unabridged dictionary.  It typically means "an attack," but also has an obsolete meaning of "an approach."

Examples of aggress in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Getting to actively aggress people in a foreign nation is actually a girlboss slay. Vulture, 7 Apr. 2022 One chapter looks at the hawk-dove game: two players decide independently whether to aggress (play hawk) or acquiesce (play dove). Matthew Hutson, WSJ, 24 Apr. 2022 Asian face even more inscrutable, effacing even their age and gender, while also telegraphing that the Asian wearer was mute and therefore incapable of talking back if aggressed. New York Times, 12 Apr. 2020 Boyish, long-haired young Getty seems very much at home here, sparring good-naturedly with some ladies of the night before being aggressed and whisked away. Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter, 19 Dec. 2017 In that time Moscow also aggressed against countries far closer to central Europe, such as Hungary, and did far more in the way of destabilizing democracies. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, 16 Aug. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'aggress.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


in part borrowed from Latin adgressus, aggressus, past participle of adgredī, aggredī "to approach, attack, undertake," from ad- ad- + gradī "to step, go"; in part back-formation from aggression — more at grade entry 1

First Known Use

1708, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of aggress was in 1708


Dictionary Entries Near aggress

Cite this Entry

“Aggress.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Apr. 2024.

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