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

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Synonyms for antagonize


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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 Internal acrimony Never the best of friends, Democratic Chairwoman Ellen Weintraub and Republican Vice Chairwoman Caroline Hunter — two of the three remaining FEC commissioners — are antagonizing one another as much as ever. NBC News, "Halloween's over. The Federal Election Commission? Still a zombie.," 1 Nov. 2019 The video showed Robinson antagonizing Fouse and telling him to hit her, according to DeNoon’s testimony, but Fouse declined to do so. Ashley Remkus |, al, "Huntsville woman fatally shot man during car purchase dispute, investigator testifies," 21 Aug. 2019 Over the last three years, Diaz has enjoyed his time on the sidelines as somewhat of an antihero, smoking mounds of marijuana and antagonizing UFC boss Dana White. Manouk Akopyan, Los Angeles Times, "Daniel Cormier vs. Stipe Miocic highlights UFC 241 from Anaheim," 16 Aug. 2019 After all, this is a player who went AWOL ahead of his team’s season finale last December, with that team still in the playoff hunt, then grew a blonde mustache and publicly antagonized the organization on social media to try to force a trade. Albert Breer,, "Antonio Brown’s Helmet Drama Is Exactly What Jon Gruden and the Raiders Bargained For," 12 Aug. 2019 While there’s been less research on kids who get antagonized for bringing food their peers are unfamiliar with, bullying of all kinds can have serious ramifications later on. Lizz Schumer, Good Housekeeping, "It's Time to Stop Commenting on Your Coworker's Lunch," 8 Aug. 2019 Anthropogenic climate change, however, is becoming an increasingly antagonizing presence. Robin George Andrews, National Geographic, "Flash floods threaten more people than thought, as ice melts," 18 Apr. 2019 The only way board members really risk losing their positions is by antagonizing other members. Dean Baker, Twin Cities, "Dean Baker: CEOs say shareholders won’t be No. 1 anymore. But they weren’t – the CEOs themselves were.," 21 Aug. 2019 European Central Bank rate decision, outgoing chief Mario Draghi was asked to pull off the impossible—to fight off recession, to keep Europe’s biggest commercial banks happy and to somehow not antagonize President Trump. Eric J. Lyman, Fortune, "Outgoing ECB Chief Mario Draghi Managed to Anger the Germans and Donald Trump with an Interest Rate Cut," 12 Sep. 2019

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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Time Traveler for antagonize

Time Traveler

The first known use of antagonize was circa 1742

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Statistics for antagonize

Last Updated

24 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Antagonize.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 5 December 2019.

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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 antagonise (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

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More from Merriam-Webster on antagonize

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for antagonize

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with antagonize

Spanish Central: Translation of antagonize

Nglish: Translation of antagonize for Spanish Speakers

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