Open main menu

Contents

EnglishEdit

EtymologyEdit

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.

PronunciationEdit

  • IPA(key): /ˈæɡ.ɹə.veɪ̯t/

VerbEdit

aggravate (third-person singular simple present aggravates, present participle aggravating, simple past and past participle aggravated)

  1. To make worse, or more severe; to render less tolerable or less excusable; to make more offensive; to enhance; to intensify.
    • (Can we date this quote by Alexander Pope?)
      [] to aggravate my woes.
    • (Can we date this quote by William H. Prescott?)
      [] to aggravate the horrors of the scene
    • (Can we date this quote by Addison?)
      The defense made by the prisoner's counsel did rather aggravate than extenuate his crime.
  2. To give coloring to in description; to exaggerate
    He aggravated the story.
  3. To exasperate; to provoke, to irritate.
    • 1748, Samuel Richardson, Clarissa:
      If both were to aggravate her parents, as my brother and sister do mine.
    • 1905, Baroness Emmuska Orczy, chapter 1, in The Ayrsham Mystery[1]:
      “It is a pity,” he retorted with aggravating meekness, “that they do not use a little common sense. The case resembles that of Columbus' egg, and is every bit as simple. […]”
    • 1977, Alistair Horne, A Savage War of Peace, New York Review Books 2006, p. 85:
      Ben Bella was aggravated by having to express himself in French because the Egyptians were unable to understand his Arabic.

Usage notesEdit

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.

SynonymsEdit

AntonymsEdit

Related termsEdit

TranslationsEdit

Further readingEdit


ItalianEdit

LatinEdit