ag·​gres·​sion | \ ə-ˈgre-shən \

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

However, Poroshenko may gain voter support for staunchly standing up to Putin’s aggression. Alex Ward, Vox, "Russia just openly attacked Ukraine. That could mean their war will get worse.," 26 Nov. 2018 Amandla's words refer to the racist micro-aggression of assuming all people of a certain race look alike. Allie Gemmill, Teen Vogue, "Amandla Stenberg Called Out the Racist Idea That Black People "All Look the Same"," 10 Oct. 2018 The French public was largely sympathetic to the students, and the police aggression spurred the movement to expand beyond the universities and into the workforce. Kate Keller, Smithsonian, "Fifty Years Later, France Is Still Debating the Legacy of Its 1968 Protests," 4 May 2018 The aggression materialized Friday, initially in his willingness to look for his shot but most notably on one play from much closer range. Sam Mcdowell, kansascity, "A Clemson player dared Kansas guard Lagerald Vick to shoot. It didn’t go over well | The Kansas City Star," 23 Mar. 2018 Let’s cut out the aggression and move on to doing what is right. Dara Doyle,, "May Ally to Ireland: Cut Out the Brexit ‘Aggression’," 20 Mar. 2018 The aggressions of political life could not bend him. Mehera Bonner, Marie Claire, "Meghan McCain Releases Emotional Tribute to Her Dad Following His Cancer Diagnosis," 20 July 2017 The answer lies in the evolutionary pressures that selected against aggression, particularly in men. Richard Wrangham, WSJ, "Humans: The Domesticated Primates," 10 Jan. 2019 In the end, the animals can seem like zombies, with symptoms like drooling, aggression, extreme weight loss, stumbling, and tremors. Jessica Leigh Mattern, Country Living, "Experts Are Wondering If a Disease That Causes Deer to Act Like Zombies Could Spread to Humans," 22 May 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about aggression

Share aggression

Statistics for aggression

Last Updated

6 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for aggression

The first known use of aggression was in 1611

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for aggression



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 \

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 \

Medical Definition of aggression

: hostile, injurious, or destructive behavior or outlook

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on aggression

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


to express emotion in a dramatic way

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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