ag·​gres·​sion ə-ˈgre-shən How to pronounce aggression (audio)
: a forceful action or procedure (such as an unprovoked attack) especially when intended to dominate or master
: 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
: hostile, injurious, or destructive behavior or outlook especially when caused by frustration
Aggression is often the expression of pent-up rage.

Example Sentences

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.
Recent Examples on the Web What starts as a series of petty pranks quickly spirals into unspeakable acts of emotional and physical violence, all of it somehow flowing out of this one minor act of aggression. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 20 Mar. 2023 China has refused to condemn Moscow’s aggression and sought to project itself as neutral in the conflict. Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAY, 20 Mar. 2023 But Beijing has stopped far short of condemning Russia’s aggression, and the visit is likely to be interpreted in some corners as a tacit endorsement of Russia’s actions. Adam Taylor, Washington Post, 20 Mar. 2023 His long-range slump continued with 2 for 11 3-point shooting, but his aggression was impactful. Adam Himmelsbach,, 18 Mar. 2023 Such a potentially harmful reaction exposes a larger problem, which has repeatedly manifested itself since Russia’s unprovoked aggression. John Bolton, WSJ, 15 Mar. 2023 Yet there’s a freakish joy at work in how Seligman tears down the very universe of high-school comedy only to build it back up into a comic book of aggression that does nothing less than remake the social order. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 12 Mar. 2023 Mars: The planet of aggression, this placement also dictates your actions and desires. Meghan Rose, Glamour, 9 Mar. 2023 Metsola voiced support for the EU’s announcement Thursday that an international center for the prosecution of the crime of aggression — the act of invading another country — would be set up in The Hague. Mstyslav Chernov, ajc, 5 Mar. 2023 See More

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.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1611, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of aggression was in 1611

Dictionary Entries Near aggression

Cite this Entry

“Aggression.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


ag·​gres·​sion ə-ˈgresh-ən How to pronounce aggression (audio)
: an attack made without reasonable cause
: the practice of making attacks
: hostile or destructive behavior or outlook

derived from Latin aggredi "to attack," from ad- "to" and gradi "to step, go"

Medical Definition


ag·​gres·​sion ə-ˈgresh-ən How to pronounce aggression (audio)
: hostile, injurious, or destructive behavior or outlook

More from Merriam-Webster on aggression

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

Which Came First?

  • baby chick with a brown egg
  • hot take or cold shoulder?
Name That Thing

You know what it looks like… but what is it called?

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?