aggravate
transitive verb (-vated; -vating) Etymology: Latin aggravatus, past participle of aggravare to make heavier, from ad- + gravare to burden, from gravis heavy — more at grieve Date: 1530 1. obsolete a. to make heavy ; burden b. increase 2. to make worse, more serious, or more severe ; intensify unpleasantly <
problems have been aggravated by neglect
>
3. a. to rouse to displeasure or anger by usually persistent and often petty goading b. to produce inflammation in Usage: Although aggravate has been used in sense 3a since the 17th century, it has been the object of disapproval only since about 1870. It is used in expository prose <
when his silly conceit…about his not-very-good early work has begun to aggravate us — William Styron
>
but seems to be more common in speech and casual writing <
a good profession for him, because bus drivers get aggravated — Jackie Gleason (interview, 1986)
>
<
& now this letter comes to aggravate me a thousand times worse — Mark Twain (letter, 1864)
>
. Sense 2 is far more common than sense 3a in published prose. Such is not the case, however, with aggravation and aggravating. Aggravation is used in sense 3 somewhat more than in its earlier senses; aggravating has practically no use other than to express annoyance.

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Aggravate — Ag gra*vate, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Aggravated}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Aggravating}.] [L. aggravatus, p. p. of aggravare. See {Aggrieve}.] 1. To make heavy or heavier; to add to; to increase. [Obs.] To aggravate thy store. Shak. [1913 Webster] 2. To… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • aggravate — ag·gra·vate / a grə ˌvāt/ vt vat·ed, vat·ing: to make more serious, more severe, or worse maliciousness aggravated the offense aggravated her preexisting condition aggravating factors compare …   Law dictionary

  • aggravate — (v.) 1520s, make heavy, burden down, from pp. adjective aggravate burdened; threatened (late 15c.), from L. aggravatus, pp. of aggravare to render more troublesome, lit. to make heavy (see AGGRAVATION (Cf. aggravation)). Earlier in this sense was …   Etymology dictionary

  • aggravate — The meaning ‘to annoy or exasperate’ has existed in good sources since the early 17c; despite this, Fowler (1926) recommended that it ‘should be left to the uneducated’. The dominance of the current sense has not put paid to the original meaning …   Modern English usage

  • aggravate — [v1] annoy be at*, be on the back of*, bother, bug, bum*, dog, drive up the wall*, exasperate, gall, get, get on one’s nerves, get to, give a hard time, grate, hack, irk, irritate, nag, needle, nettle, peeve, pester, pick on, pique, provoke,… …   New thesaurus

  • aggravate — ► VERB 1) make worse. 2) informal annoy or exasperate. DERIVATIVES aggravating adjective aggravation noun. USAGE Aggravate in the sense ‘annoy or exasperate’ is in widespread use in modern English and dates back to the 17th century, but the use… …   English terms dictionary

  • aggravate — 1 heighten, *intensify, enhance Analogous words: magnify, aggrandize (see EXALT): augment, *increase, multiply, enlarge Antonyms: alleviate Contrasted words: lighten, mitigate, allay (see RELIEVE): *palliate, extenuate: lessen, reduce, diminish,… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • aggravate — [ag′rə vāt΄] vt. aggravated, aggravating [< L aggravatus, pp. of aggravare, to make heavier < ad , to + gravis, heavy: see GRAVE1] 1. to make worse; make more burdensome, troublesome, etc. 2. Informal to exasperate; annoy; vex SYN.… …   English World dictionary

  • aggravate — verb 1) the new law could aggravate the situation Syn: worsen, make worse, exacerbate, inflame, compound; add fuel to the fire/flames, add insult to injury, rub salt in the wound Ant: alleviate, improve 2) informal you don …   Thesaurus of popular words

  • aggravate — aggravative, adj. aggravator, n. /ag reuh vayt /, v.t., aggravated, aggravating. 1. to make worse or more severe; intensify, as anything evil, disorderly, or troublesome: to aggravate a grievance; to aggravate an illness. 2. to annoy; irritate;… …   Universalium

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