an·​tag·​o·​nize | \an-ˈta-gə-ˌnīz \
antagonized; antagonizing

Definition of antagonize 

transitive verb

1 : to incur or provoke the hostility of His criticism antagonized his friends.

2 : to act in opposition to : counteract The drug is antagonized by methylxanthines, such as caffeine and theophylline …Scientific American Medicine

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Synonyms for antagonize


embitter, empoison, envenom

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Examples of antagonize in a Sentence

He didn't mean to antagonize you. Her comments antagonized many people.

Recent Examples on the Web

First, the great majority of these groups live in Vietnam’s north, on the border with China, and are therefore best not antagonized with such a powerful neighbor. Hanya Yanagihara, Condé Nast Traveler, "50 Things to Do in Asia Before You Die," 24 Sep. 2018 But Duterte delayed the resumption indefinitely to allow public consultations, antagonizing the guerrillas. Jim Gomez, Fox News, "Philippines wants rebels 'encamped' in fixed areas for talks," 4 July 2018 This clash of warring impulses—avoid and antagonize—defines my existence. Patricia Grisafi, SELF, "When I’m Gaming, I Can Stop Being a People Pleaser and Embrace My Anger," 1 Nov. 2018 Two high-ranking Colombian officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid antagonizing Trump confirmed the report. Joshua Goodman, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump pressed aides on Venezuela invasion, US official says," 4 July 2018 Keen not to antagonize Germany’s neighbors, Merkel prefers an E.U.-wide solution and wants to wait until the outcome of a summit of the bloc's leaders on June 28. NBC News, "Germany's Merkel faces political crisis over migrant policy," 15 June 2018 The flyers prompted a social media backlash but Gibbs says the church doesn't mean to criticize or antagonize others. Fox News, "Dallas-area church targets 'dangerous isms,' such as Judaism," 4 June 2018 Trump, who is deeply unpopular in Britain, has offended, outraged and antagonized Britons on numerous occasions since being elected. Jennifer Hassan, Washington Post, "From effigies to egging: The British have a long history of dissing U.S. presidents," 11 July 2018 Another factor is whether the administration keeps antagonizing trading partners other than China. Emily Stewart, Vox, "Can the US-China trade war be stopped? 11 experts weigh in.," 8 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'antagonize.' 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 antagonize

circa 1742, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for antagonize

Greek antagōnizesthai, from anti- + agōnizesthai to struggle, from agōn contest — more at agony

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Last Updated

8 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for antagonize

The first known use of antagonize was circa 1742

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More Definitions for antagonize



English Language Learners Definition of antagonize

: to cause (someone) to feel hostile or angry : to irritate or upset (someone)


an·​tag·​o·​nize | \an-ˈta-gə-ˌnīz \
antagonized; antagonizing

Kids Definition of antagonize

: to stir up dislike or anger in The bully antagonizes younger kids.


transitive verb
variants: also British antagonise \an-​ˈtag-​ə-​ˌnīz \
antagonized also British antagonised; antagonizing also British antagonising

Medical Definition of antagonize 

: to act in antagonism to : counteract these effects are antagonized by atropine— Ernest Bueding & Harry Most

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More from Merriam-Webster on antagonize

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with antagonize

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for antagonize

Spanish Central: Translation of antagonize

Nglish: Translation of antagonize for Spanish Speakers

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to enclose within walls

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