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


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

Backing down could antagonize China’s president, Xi Jinping, who’s seeking to bring Hong Kong into greater alignment with the mainland. Bloomberg News, The Mercury News, "Tear gas envelops Hong Kong as protesters flood the streets," 12 June 2019 Privately, people close to the president have conceded that assuring Mr. Trump that the investigation would end by a certain date was primarily aimed at keeping him from antagonizing Mr. Mueller on his Twitter feed or in interviews. Michael S. Schmidt And Maggie Haberman, New York Times, "In Russia Inquiry, Lawyers Tell Trump to Refuse Mueller Interview," 5 Feb. 2018 Even in the face of ugly details of Jamal Khashoggi’s slaying, Trump has resisted calls to cut off arms sales to the kingdom and has been reluctant to antagonize the Saudi rulers. Susannah George, The Seattle Times, "US to revoke visas of Saudis implicated in killing of writer," 23 Oct. 2018 More important, the Western economic order, and the American dollar in particular, depends on Chinese goodwill far too much for statesmen to risk antagonizing Beijing with reckless rhetoric. Peter Slezkine, The New Republic, "What Happened to the “Free World”?," 22 May 2018 But while the broad strokes of the directive are alarming, many of the details are still unclear, and big tech companies seem to be holding their fire for fear of antagonizing regulators. Russell Brandom, The Verge, "Wikimedia calls EU copyright directive ‘a missed opportunity’," 12 Sep. 2018 The elder DiNubile and his relatives, meanwhile, have said that Olivieri’s friends have antagonized them, gloating on social media about the 16-year-old’s death and calling for Olivieri to be released from prison. Chris Palmer,, "Tensions boil over as South Philly teen agrees to be tried as adult in killing of two 16-year-olds," 5 June 2018 Advertisers, leery of controversy and of antagonizing the Governor, shunned the paper and took their chances with a Providence Journal monopoly, which purchased the StarTribune in a bankruptcy sale and then shuttered it within months. Richard E. Farley, Town & Country, "The Great American Racetrack War," 9 June 2017 An Oregon man who was caught on video seemingly antagonizing a bison in Yellowstone National Park was reportedly sentenced to 130 days in jail Thursday after entering a guilty plea to the charges against him. Elizabeth Zwirz, Fox News, "Yellowstone bison taunter reportedly sentenced to jail," 23 Aug. 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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Statistics for antagonize

Last Updated

23 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 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

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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