ag·​gres·​sion | \ ə-ˈgre-shən How to pronounce aggression (audio) \

Definition of aggression

1 : a forceful action or procedure (such as an unprovoked attack) especially when intended to dominate or master
2 : the practice of making attacks or encroachments especially : unprovoked violation by one country of the territorial integrity of another warned that any act of aggression could start a war
3 : hostile, injurious, or destructive behavior or outlook especially when caused by frustration Aggression is often the expression of pent-up rage.

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Examples of aggression in a Sentence

He has a lot of pent-up aggression. behavior that is likely to provoke aggression dangerous dogs showing aggression toward people The government says that it will view any attempt to fly over its territory as an act of aggression.
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Recent Examples on the Web William would spend most of his adult life resisting French aggression and constructing European alliances against Louis XIV. Allan Massie, WSJ, 6 Oct. 2021 Multi-national military exercises by the U.S., U.K. and Japan began in the region over the weekend in what officials said was a direct response to China’s military aggression. Caitlin Mcfall, Fox News, 6 Oct. 2021 Beijing’s displays of military strength place Taiwan at the center of efforts by the United States and its allies to counter Chinese aggression. Washington Post, 6 Oct. 2021 While Weinberg and company delivered relentless aggression, and the masks and staging gave the show its edge, Taylor was the crucial element that made the experience more cathartic. Piet Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 30 Sep. 2021 The Philippines is countering Chinese aggression in the South China Sea with an all-female unit of coast guard radio operators. Laura Blasey, Los Angeles Times, 30 Sep. 2021 But for Democrats, there may also be opportunity in such blatant aggression—a chance to remember that the public likes public education. Kathryn Joyce, The New Republic, 30 Sep. 2021 Yet the actual content of the musical is distressing, messy, full of psychological manipulation and passive aggression. Helen Shaw, Vulture, 21 Sep. 2021 The process is called displacement behavior and sometimes referred to as displacement aggression. Kathy Caprino, Forbes, 20 Sep. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'aggression.' 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 aggression

1611, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for aggression

borrowed from French & Latin; French agression, going back to Middle French, "attack," borrowed from Latin aggressiōn-, aggressiō, from aggredī "to approach, attack" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of action nouns — more at aggress

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Time Traveler for aggression

Time Traveler

The first known use of aggression was in 1611

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Statistics for aggression

Last Updated

10 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Aggression.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for aggression



English Language Learners Definition of aggression

: angry or violent behavior or feelings
: hostile action against another country, government, etc.


ag·​gres·​sion | \ ə-ˈgre-shən How to pronounce aggression (audio) \

Kids Definition of aggression

1 : angry or violent behavior or feelings Young children must learn to use words rather than physical aggression.
2 : hostile action made without reasonable cause military aggression


ag·​gres·​sion | \ ə-ˈgresh-ən How to pronounce aggression (audio) \

Medical Definition of aggression

: hostile, injurious, or destructive behavior or outlook

More from Merriam-Webster on aggression

Nglish: Translation of aggression for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of aggression for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about aggression


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