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

Davis's hardline aggression was a brilliant gambit that, purposefully or not, forced the compromise. Jon Wertheim,, "How the Influence of Al Davis Shaped the Modern NFL," 27 Aug. 2019 After reviewing video to see what caused the dustups, Shanahan was largely supportive of Hurd, saying his within-the-rules aggression angered defensive players. Eric Branch,, "49ers’ practice report: Garoppolo scrambles ... and slides!," 29 July 2019 As the Heat have shown in the past, such preemptive aggression can be a means to secure an impending free agent in advance to free agency. Ira Winderman,, "Heat to find out if Beal street is even navigable," 25 July 2019 For them, the value in anger and aggression has not yet been untied from toxic masculinity. Amanda Petrusich, The New Yorker, "The Decline of Yelling," 31 July 2019 Paramount among those ills are the relentless predations of men, the kinds of aggression that have given rise in younger generations to #MeToo. New York Times, "They’re Mad as Hell," 30 July 2019 In front of a sellout crowd of 17,934, most of them shrieking youth at the annual Camp Day game, the Lynx lacked aggression and provided little to cheer for early. Mike Cook, Twin Cities, "Lynx lose 79-71 to Washington Mystics in front of 17,934," 24 July 2019 These hawks, many of whom have never seen combat, seem ignorant to the reality that American aggression and arrogance has frightening consequences, particularly in the era of nuclear weapons. Lincoln Chafee,, "Lincoln Chafee: The party of peace: Why I joined the Libertarian Party," 19 July 2019 The struggle for him has been in finding the balance between aggression and recklessness. The Si Staff,, "Scout’s Take: Insider Fantasy Football Analysis for Every NFL Team," 4 July 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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Statistics for aggression

Last Updated

4 Sep 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 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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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).


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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