Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To make worse or more troublesome.
  • transitive verb To annoy or exasperate: synonym: annoy.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Literally, to add weight to or upon; increase the amount, quantity, or force of; make heavier by added quantity or burden.
  • To make more grave or heavy; increase the weight or pressure of; intensify, as anything evil, disorderly, or troublesome: as, to aggravate guilt or crime, the evils or annoyances of life, etc.
  • To exaggerate; give coloring to in description; give an exaggerated representation of: as, to aggravate circumstances.
  • To provoke; irritate; tease.
  • Synonyms To heighten, raise, increase, magnify; overstate. See list under exaggerate.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb obsolete To make heavy or heavier; to add to; to increase.
  • transitive verb To make worse, or more severe; to render less tolerable or less excusable; to make more offensive; to enhance; to intensify.
  • transitive verb To give coloring to in description; to exaggerate.
  • transitive verb colloq. To exasperate; to provoke; to irritate.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb To make worse, or more severe; to render less tolerable or less excusable; to make more offensive; to enhance; to intensify.
  • verb To give coloring to in description; to exaggerate; as, to aggravate circumstances. — William Paley.
  • verb To exasperate; to provoke; to irritate.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb make worse
  • verb exasperate or irritate

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Latin aggravāre, aggravāt- : ad-, ad- + gravāre, to burden (from gravis, heavy; see gwerə- in Indo-European roots).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin aggravatus, past participle of aggravare ("to add to the weight of, make worse, oppress, annoy"), from ad ("to") + gravare ("to make heavy"), from gravis ("heavy"). See grave and compare aggrieve and aggredge.

Examples

  • The word aggravate annoys him, so say irritate instead?

    Language Log

  • The word aggravate annoys him, so say irritate instead?

    Language Log

  • Pope denounces condom use in Africa - in fact, he says condoms "aggravate" the problem of AIDS.

    News from the House of Sticks -

  • I also get annoyed with people who seem to think that 'aggravate' and 'irritate' are synonyms.

    Your (You're) Joking

  • Nevertheless, the international credit crunch and the weakening of global growth will "aggravate" the slowdown of the Icelandic economy, Mr. Haarde said.

    As Iceland's Krona Falls,

  • I'm going to let the use of "aggravate" in lieu of "irritate" slide, though.

    idiot-milk Diary Entry

  • The party was reacting to what it called the ANC's decision in the National Assembly's land affairs committee to "aggravate" the provisions of the Bill.

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • Basil's lips in spite of a vow he had just taken not to say anything that should "aggravate" his hostess, who was in a state of tension it was not difficult to detect.

    The Bostonians, Vol. I (of II)

  • "I thought 'aggravate' meant making worse than it is," said quiet little Mary Pinfall.

    The Other Girls

  • I'm not sure what this misinformed individual means by "aggravate" in "It doesn't aggravate the need for more electrical transmission grid."

    Denver Post: News: Breaking: Local

Comments

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  • you are aggravating her.

    July 25, 2011