- An example of aggravate is a brother who won't stop teasing his younger sibling.
- An example of aggravate is to constantly pick at a wound and not allow it to heal.
The definition of aggravate means to make worse or to annoy.
- to make worse; make more burdensome, troublesome, etc.
- to exasperate; annoy; vex: a longtime usage, although it is objected to by some
Origin of aggravate; from Classical Latin aggravatus, past participle of aggravare, to make heavier ; from ad-, to + gravis, heavy: see grave
transitive verbag·gra·vat·ed, ag·gra·vat·ing, ag·gra·vates
- To make worse or more troublesome: aggravate political tensions; aggravate a medical condition.
- To annoy or exasperate: The child's whining aggravated me. See Synonyms at annoy.
Origin of aggravateLatin aggravare, aggravat- : ad-, ad- + gravare, to burden (from gravis, heavy; see gwer&schwa;-1 in Indo-European roots).
(third-person singular simple present aggravates, present participle aggravating, simple past and past participle aggravated)
- To make worse, or more severe; to render less tolerable or less excusable; to make more offensive; to enhance; to intensify.
- To aggravate my woes. —Alexander Pope
- To aggravate the horrors of the scene. —William H. Prescott.
- The defense made by the prisoner's counsel did rather aggravate than extenuate his crime. —Addison.
- To give coloring to in description; to exaggerate; as, to aggravate circumstances. — William Paley.
- To exasperate; to provoke, to irritate.
- Although the meaning "to exasperate, to annoy" has been in continuous usage since the 16th century, a large number of usage mavens have contested it since the 1870s. Opinions have swayed from this proscription since 1965, but it still garners disapproval in Garner's Modern American Usage (2009), at least for formal writing.