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Webster 1913 Edition


Aggravate

Ag′gra-vate

,
Verb.
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.
2.
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.”
Pope.
To
aggravate
the horrors of the scene.
Prescott.
The defense made by the prisoner’s counsel did rather
aggravate
than extenuate his crime.
Addison.
3.
To give coloring to in description; to exaggerate;
as, to
aggravate
circumstances
.
Paley.
4.
To exasperate; to provoke; to irritate.
[Colloq.]
If both were to
aggravate
her parents, as my brother and sister do mine.
Richardson (Clarissa).
Syn. – To heighten; intensify; increase; magnify; exaggerate; provoke; irritate; exasperate.

Webster 1828 Edition


Aggravate

AG'GRAVATE

,
Verb.
T.
[L. aggravo, of ad and gravis, heavy. See Grave, Gravity.]
1.
To make heavy, but not used in this literal sense. Figuratively, to make worse, more severe, or less tolerable; as, to aggravate the evils of life; to aggravate pain or punishment.
2.
To make more enormous, or less excusable; as, to aggravate a crime.
3.
To exaggerate.
4.
To give coloring in description; to give an exaggerated representation; as, to aggravate a charge against an offender; to aggravate circumstances.
The propriety of the word in the latter passage is questionable. Aggravate is generally used in reference to evils, or something improper or unnatural.

Definition 2022


aggravate

aggravate

English

Verb

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.
    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.
  2. To give coloring to in description; to exaggerate; as, to aggravate circumstances. — William Paley.
  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:
      “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 notes

  • 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.

Synonyms

Related terms

Translations

External links

  • aggravate in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913
  • aggravate in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911

Italian

Verb

aggravate

  1. second-person plural present indicative of aggravare
  2. second-person plural imperative of aggravare
  3. feminine plural of aggravato

Latin

Verb

aggravāte

  1. first-person plural present active imperative of aggravō