[ag-ruh-veyt] /ˈæg rəˌveɪt/

verb (used with object), aggravated, aggravating.
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.
verb (transitive)
to make (a disease, situation, problem, etc) worse or more severe
(informal) to annoy; exasperate, esp by deliberate and persistent goading

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.


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