verb ex·as·per·ate \ ig-ˈza-spə-ˌrāt \
Updated on: 18 Apr 2018

Definition of exasperate

exasperated; exasperating
1 a : to excite the anger of : enrage
b : to cause irritation or annoyance to
2 obsolete : to make more grievous : aggravate




play \ig-ˈza-spə-ˌrā-tiŋ-lē\ adverb

exasperate was our Word of the Day on 04/10/2016. Hear the podcast!

Examples of exasperate in a Sentence

  1. The criticism of his latest movie is sure to exasperate his admirers.

  2. We were exasperated by the delays.

Recent Examples of exasperate from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'exasperate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of exasperate

Latin exasperatus, past participle of exasperare, from ex- + asper rough — more at asperity

Synonym Discussion of exasperate

irritate, exasperate, nettle, provoke, rile, peeve mean to excite a feeling of anger or annoyance. irritate implies an often gradual arousing of angry feelings that may range from mere impatience to rage.
    • constant nagging that irritated me greatly
exasperate suggests galling annoyance and the arousing of extreme impatience.
    • his exasperating habit of putting off needed decisions
nettle suggests a sharp but passing annoyance or stinging.
    • your pompous attitude nettled several people
provoke implies an arousing of strong annoyance that may excite to action.
    • remarks made solely to provoke her
rile implies inducing an angry or resentful agitation.
    • the new work schedules riled the employees
peeve suggests arousing fretful often petty or querulous irritation.
    • a toddler peeved at being refused a cookie



adjective ex·as·per·ate \ ig-ˈza-sp(ə-)rət \

Definition of exasperate

1 : irritated or annoyed especially to the point of injudicious action : exasperated
2 : roughened with irregular prickles or elevations
  • exasperate seed coats

First Known Use of exasperate


EXASPERATE Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of exasperate for English Language Learners

  • : to make (someone) very angry or annoyed

EXASPERATE Defined for Kids


verb ex·as·per·ate \ ig-ˈza-spə-ˌrāt \

Definition of exasperate for Students

exasperated; exasperating
: to make angry

Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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


without deliberation, pause, or delay

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Odd Habits and Quirks Quiz

  • image1926873504
  • Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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