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 But all were eclipsed by Jean Hagen’s raucous performance as the arrogant yet hapless silent star Lina Lamont, whose ego-mad aggression—and helium-balloon voice—our daughters imitated with glee. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "What to Stream: Twelve Classic Movies to Watch with Your Kids," 23 May 2020 As the nation faces a worsening pandemic and what promises to be the gravest economic downturn since the Great Depression, aggression and egotism cannot carry a nation. Susanna Lee, The Conversation, "When confronting the coronavirus, tough isn’t enough," 1 Apr. 2020 Berry vowed to be defined by aggression and likely has big plans for upgrading the Browns’ talent over the next few months. cleveland, "GM Andrew Berry to meet about Joe Schobert, Rashard Higgins at NFL combine; lay groundwork for decisions on Olivier Vernon, David Njoku, others," 25 Feb. 2020 But boys, because of their raging testosterone, can tend toward aggression, and Natterson says that this is where parents get really tripped up. Meghan Leahy, Washington Post, "A parent can be a needed refuge for a bullied teen boy," 7 Feb. 2020 However, over the last two weeks, Bernie Sanders has proven himself to be dangerous, not as an opponent but as a potential president, by excusing and appeasing Iran’s aggression and belligerence. Rob Crilly, Washington Examiner, "Trump talks up 'surging' Sanders in the primary with eye toward destroying him in the general," 16 Jan. 2020 The aggression and a spate of coyote sightings - one of which sent some schools into lockdown Thursday, according to local news outlets - has raised concerns about an urban fixture that experts say usually poses little threat. Hannah Knowles, Anchorage Daily News, "Coyotes may have attacked Chicagoans twice this week after years of leaving people alone," 10 Jan. 2020 The days of aggression and rage being the only socially acceptable emotions men are allowed to express are now numbered. Brianna Holt, Quartz, "Film showed women that softboys are the emotionally intelligent men they wanted all along," 19 Dec. 2019 The request came at a time when Ukraine's new president was seeking the delivery of U.S. aid to counter Russian military aggression and a White House meeting with Trump. Arkansas Online, "Trump's team again protests House inquiry," 7 Dec. 2019

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

28 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Aggression.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 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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