- to make worse or more severe; intensify, as anything evil, disorderly, or troublesome: to aggravate a grievance; to aggravate an illness.
- to annoy; irritate; exasperate: His questions aggravate her.
- to cause to become irritated or inflamed: The child's constant scratching aggravated the rash.
Origin of aggravate
SynonymsSee more synonyms for aggravate on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for aggravate
This, in turn, serves to amplify and aggravate differences of interest and power among the competing national groups.Why the Taliban Won
Leslie H. Gelb
August 23, 2009
Is it for you to aggravate as a crime, what reason teaches is, at worst, a misfortune?Female Scripture Biographies, Vol. I
Francis Augustus Cox
I felt that to obtrude my consolations on her then would only serve to aggravate her sufferings.The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
And Kitty refused her breakfast in consequence—only to aggravate me.
I said, Protagoras; then I am a sorry physician, and do but aggravate a disorder which I am seeking to cure.Protagoras
When he grew a little better, the Bohemian rather began to aggravate him.Cruel Barbara Allen
David Christie Murray
- to make (a disease, situation, problem, etc) worse or more severe
- informal to annoy; exasperate, esp by deliberate and persistent goading
Word Origin and History for aggravate
1520s, "make heavy, burden down," from past participle adjective aggravate "burdened; threatened" (late 15c.), from Latin aggravatus, past participle of aggravare "to render more troublesome," literally "to make heavy" (see aggravation). Earlier in this sense was aggrege (late 14c.). Meaning "to make a bad thing worse" is from 1590s; that of "exasperate, annoy" is from 1610s.
To aggravate has properly only one meaning -- to make (an evil) worse or more serious. [Fowler]
Related: Aggravated; aggravating. Phrase aggravating circumstances is recorded from 1790.