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

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 Didn’t President Biden antagonize steel-exporting Canada enough by canceling the Keystone XL pipeline? The Editorial Board, WSJ, 3 Aug. 2022 The Russian campaign was all about creating Facebook groups meant to antagonize one another. Washington Post, 18 Mar. 2022 Now baseball is facing just that, an outcome that threatens to antagonize fans of a sport that has struggled in recent years to maintain its position in a crowded entertainment landscape. Jared Diamond, WSJ, 1 Mar. 2022 That has often meant going out of his way not to antagonize Mr. Trump or his staunchest allies in Congress. New York Times, 22 Apr. 2022 Trying to play the two sides against one another will likely antagonize both parties' vocal activists and leave business with no friends to defend it when the chips are down. Richard Galant, CNN, 24 Apr. 2022 Since last year, Iran has carefully cultivated a policy that did not officially recognize the Taliban as a legitimate government but engaged in diplomatic relations, in order not to antagonize it. New York Times, 28 Apr. 2022 The United States has attempted to keep its intelligence-sharing operations with Ukraine under wraps so as not to antagonize Russia into more aggressive action, the Times reported. Zachary Snowdon Smith, Forbes, 5 May 2022 At the time, critics cautioned that NATO enlargement would antagonize a post-Soviet Russia and could end up worsening the European security order. Peter Harris, The Conversation, 24 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near antagonize

antagonistic symbiosis



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Statistics for antagonize

Last Updated

18 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Antagonize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for antagonize


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

Nglish: Translation of antagonize for Spanish Speakers


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