ag·​gres·​sion | \ ə-ˈgre-shən How to pronounce aggression (audio) \

Definition of aggression

1 : a forceful action or procedure (such as an unprovoked attack) especially when intended to dominate or master
2 : the practice of making attacks or encroachments especially : unprovoked violation by one country of the territorial integrity of another warned that any act of aggression could start a war
3 : hostile, injurious, or destructive behavior or outlook especially when caused by frustration Aggression is often the expression of pent-up rage.

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Examples of aggression in a Sentence

He has a lot of pent-up aggression. behavior that is likely to provoke aggression dangerous dogs showing aggression toward people The government says that it will view any attempt to fly over its territory as an act of aggression.
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Recent Examples on the Web Deedra Abboud, a Muslim and former U.S. Senate candidate who was confronted and demeaned by members of the Patriot movement, said the Patriots' power isn't in numbers, but in their aggression., "‘They scare the politicians’: How the Patriot movement’s extreme views found a home in the GOP," 1 Oct. 2020 Biden, both Eaglen and Harrison said, would likely reverse course and keep those troops in Germany as a check against Russian aggression in Europe. Tom Vanden Brook, USA TODAY, "What a Biden win or four more years of Trump would mean for the military," 4 Sep. 2020 China committed to buy an additional $200 billion in American goods above 2017 levels by the end of 2021 in what was initially a truce against further aggression. Josh Boak, Star Tribune, "AP FACT CHECK: GOP taps distortions to heap praise on Trump," 26 Aug. 2020 Trump's reelection campaign has uttered a similar refrain, highlighting what officials say is Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's failure to account for China's aggression against American farmers and workers. Katherine Doyle, Washington Examiner, "Navarro: Democrats and China are in 'common cause' to defeat Trump," 19 Aug. 2020 The virtue is easy to praise yet hard to practice because deep down, our insecurities and impatience tell us that verbal aggression and hostility have more power. Kyle Triggs, Star Tribune, "RBG and Scalia: Best of adversaries were a model for a divided nation," 22 Sep. 2020 One paper from 2012 linked darker skin to aggression and sexuality in humans. Adam Marcus, Wired, "Science Journals Are Purging Racist, Sexist Work. Finally," 17 Sep. 2020 This spring might have been one of them, though the basis of that was more aggression at pitches in the strike zone and generally less passivity at the plate. Jon Meoli,, "The Orioles’ latest advice to struggling Chris Davis? Just get in there and swing.," 8 Aug. 2020 In public statements, Chinese officials have portrayed their country as a deeply aggrieved victim of U.S. aggression and encirclement. Washington Post, "A lion or a porcupine? Insecurity drives China’s Xi to take on the world.," 7 Aug. 2020

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

1611, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for aggression

borrowed from French & Latin; French agression, going back to Middle French, "attack," borrowed from Latin aggressiōn-, aggressiō, from aggredī "to approach, attack" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of action nouns — more at aggress

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Time Traveler for aggression

Time Traveler

The first known use of aggression was in 1611

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Statistics for aggression

Last Updated

21 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Aggression.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for aggression


How to pronounce aggression (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of aggression

: angry or violent behavior or feelings
: hostile action against another country, government, etc.


ag·​gres·​sion | \ ə-ˈgre-shən How to pronounce aggression (audio) \

Kids Definition of aggression

1 : angry or violent behavior or feelings Young children must learn to use words rather than physical aggression.
2 : hostile action made without reasonable cause military aggression


ag·​gres·​sion | \ ə-ˈgresh-ən How to pronounce aggression (audio) \

Medical Definition of aggression

: hostile, injurious, or destructive behavior or outlook

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