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, 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

While Gundogan attempted to distance himself from the incident in Britain, Ozil has maintained his silence – antagonizing the same people who said the issue had been dealt with before the World Cup. Ciaran Fahey, The Seattle Times, "Germany makes Mesut Ozil the scapegoat for World Cup exit," 10 July 2018 Blogger Erick Erickson wrote that Trump antagonized the G7 then made kissy face with a man who routinely murders his own people. Fox News, "Two FBI agents sought to 'stop' Trump," 18 June 2018 Witnesses said that even as the teens were peacefully leaving, Sebby-Strempel continued to antagonize them. Monique Judge, The Root, "Crazy, Racist White Woman Assaults Black Teens and Insults Them With Racial Slurs at a Public Swimming Pool," 26 June 2018 Yet the project has antagonized the Afghanistan government, which does not consider this border line, known as the Durand line, as the fair and official boundary between the two neighbors. Hollie Mckay, Fox News, "Trump's wrath forces Pakistan to double down on push to eliminate terrorist sanctuaries," 10 July 2018 But Marquardt said police were unable to arrest him, and that the staff was afraid to antagonize him by taking him to court. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "Five newspaper staff killed by man who sued them for covering his online threats and harassment," 29 June 2018 Most pitchers wouldn't dream of antagonizing Tennessee Tech. Nick Moyle, Houston Chronicle, "UT drops Game 1 of super regional to Tennessee Tech," 9 June 2018 Most pitchers wouldn’t dream of antagonizing Tennessee Tech. Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, "Texas drops first game in Super Regional," 9 June 2018 On Thursday, the 76ers and former president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo agreed to part ways amid a scandal involving burner Twitter accounts that disclosed sensitive team information and antagonized multiple players on the roster. Khadrice Rollins,, "Philadelphia 76ers General Manager Rumors: Who Replaces Bryan Colangelo?," 7 June 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

18 Aug 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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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).


evasion of direct action or statement

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