an·​tag·​o·​nize | \ an-ˈta-gə-ˌnīz How to pronounce antagonize (audio) \
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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for antagonize


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of antagonize in a Sentence

He didn't mean to antagonize you. Her comments antagonized many people.
Recent Examples on the Web That served to alienate and antagonize nearly half the country and heighten the tribal instincts that are poisoning American politics. Karl Rove, WSJ, "Biden Needs a Conciliatory Tone," 16 Dec. 2020 Because Elena’s family lacks real development, and the police seem to needlessly antagonize Grace, the show risks asking viewers to root for the Frasers, who get to keep their hands clean by paying others to do much of their dirty work. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "On TV, Having Wealth Means You Get to Suffer Beautifully," 27 Oct. 2020 Yes, to antagonize Iran's hawks and make diplomacy less likely to succeed. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, "Iran suffers more humiliation with killing of nuclear chief. But no one in the world's most febrile region wants war," 28 Nov. 2020 Her letter appeared designed not to antagonize Mr. Trump and his supporters. Maggie Haberman, New York Times, "Trump Administration Approves Start of Formal Transition to Biden," 23 Nov. 2020 Washington commentators at a recent Atlantic Council forum assessed that pushing too hard for a pro-European shift in Belarus would antagonize Russia and upset the balance of power in Europe. Abraham Mahshie, Washington Examiner, "Lithuania at unexpected forefront in Belarus democracy push," 23 Sep. 2020 Recurring misconduct doesn’t only antagonize regulators. Lananh Nguyen,, "Banks Pile Up Fines Under Trump, Casting Light on Misconduct," 3 Nov. 2020 When people work together to survive and find something that resembles peace, Mando has a resolute mission to punch, shoot, or kill anyone—or anything—who might antagonize them. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Mandalorian season 2 premiere: This is (still) the way," 30 Oct. 2020 Grassroots campaigns will have to do a balancing act both to antagonize and work with the establishment. Isabel Cristo, The New Republic, "The Bernie Organizers Who Want to Elect Biden—Then Defeat Him," 23 Oct. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about antagonize

Time Traveler for antagonize

Time Traveler

The first known use of antagonize was circa 1742

See more words from the same year

Statistics for antagonize

Last Updated

27 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Antagonize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for antagonize


How to pronounce antagonize (audio)

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 How to pronounce antagonize (audio) \
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 How to pronounce antagonize (audio) \
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

More from Merriam-Webster on antagonize

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for antagonize

Nglish: Translation of antagonize for Spanish Speakers

Comments on antagonize

What made you want to look up antagonize? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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