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.

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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

The Democrats propose gentle reactions to Russian aggression to avoid contention, while President Trump’s policies are as tough on Russia as any since the Reagan administration. WSJ, "Who in Government Really Is Helping the Russians?," 11 Feb. 2019 These two are barely in the episode, and most of their scenes involve withering looks and passive aggression. Mehera Bonner, Harper's BAZAAR, "Bree Just Got Engaged to Someone Who Is Not Roger on Outlander," 14 Jan. 2019 And on his watch, a wall fell in Berlin, a dictator's aggression did not stand, and doors across America opened to those with disabilities. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Jon Meacham's Eulogy for George H.W. Bush: Read What the President's Biographer Had to Say," 5 Dec. 2018 Any aggression Madonna feels about her divorce—on this album, at least—is flushed out by melancholia. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Madonna Released the Ultimate Divorce Album 6 Years Ago—You Just Didn't Listen," 30 Nov. 2018 Trump consistently lambasts the press and CNN in particular, sometimes going as far as to celebrate aggression. Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "Trump Spent Years Encouraging Violence Against His “Enemies”—Today, It Came in the Mail," 24 Oct. 2018 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

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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Statistics for aggression

Last Updated

20 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for aggression

The first known use of aggression was in 1611

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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

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