aggravate


aggravate
aggravate
The meaning ‘to annoy or exasperate’ has existed in good sources since the early 17c; despite this, Fowler (1926) recommended that it ‘should be left to the uneducated’. The dominance of the current sense has not put paid to the original meaning, ‘to increase the gravity of’, and the two meanings now stand side by side. Examples: (older sense)

• These misfortunes were greatly aggravated by the policies of the English Government —Winston Churchill

1958 / (later sense)

• Do not aggravate them, be quiet, smile nicely —Peter Carey, 1982

• Jane Fairfax aggravates her in all sorts of ways —T. Tanner, 1986.

The later meaning has given rise to a common participial adjective aggravating (like annoying): e.g.

• It was aggravating that he had to do so many little jobs himself —Mary Wesley, 1983.

In law, aggravating factors or circumstances make an offence (such as aggravated assault) more serious and the word in this sense is therefore the opposite of mitigating.

Modern English usage. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Aggravate — Ag gra*vate, v. 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. [1913 Webster] 2. To… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • aggravate — ag·gra·vate / a grə ˌvāt/ vt vat·ed, vat·ing: to make more serious, more severe, or worse maliciousness aggravated the offense aggravated her preexisting condition aggravating factors compare …   Law dictionary

  • aggravate — (v.) 1520s, make heavy, burden down, from pp. adjective aggravate burdened; threatened (late 15c.), from L. aggravatus, pp. of aggravare to render more troublesome, lit. to make heavy (see AGGRAVATION (Cf. aggravation)). Earlier in this sense was …   Etymology dictionary

  • aggravate — [v1] annoy be at*, be on the back of*, bother, bug, bum*, dog, drive up the wall*, exasperate, gall, get, get on one’s nerves, get to, give a hard time, grate, hack, irk, irritate, nag, needle, nettle, peeve, pester, pick on, pique, provoke,… …   New thesaurus

  • aggravate — ► VERB 1) make worse. 2) informal annoy or exasperate. DERIVATIVES aggravating adjective aggravation noun. USAGE Aggravate in the sense ‘annoy or exasperate’ is in widespread use in modern English and dates back to the 17th century, but the use… …   English terms dictionary

  • aggravate — 1 heighten, *intensify, enhance Analogous words: magnify, aggrandize (see EXALT): augment, *increase, multiply, enlarge Antonyms: alleviate Contrasted words: lighten, mitigate, allay (see RELIEVE): *palliate, extenuate: lessen, reduce, diminish,… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • aggravate — [ag′rə vāt΄] vt. aggravated, aggravating [< L aggravatus, pp. of aggravare, to make heavier < ad , to + gravis, heavy: see GRAVE1] 1. to make worse; make more burdensome, troublesome, etc. 2. Informal to exasperate; annoy; vex SYN.… …   English World dictionary

  • aggravate — verb 1) the new law could aggravate the situation Syn: worsen, make worse, exacerbate, inflame, compound; add fuel to the fire/flames, add insult to injury, rub salt in the wound Ant: alleviate, improve 2) informal you don …   Thesaurus of popular words

  • aggravate — aggravative, adj. aggravator, n. /ag reuh vayt /, v.t., aggravated, aggravating. 1. to make worse or more severe; intensify, as anything evil, disorderly, or troublesome: to aggravate a grievance; to aggravate an illness. 2. to annoy; irritate;… …   Universalium

  • aggravate — transitive verb ( vated; vating) Etymology: Latin aggravatus, past participle of aggravare to make heavier, from ad + gravare to burden, from gravis heavy more at grieve Date: 1530 1. obsolete a. to make heavy ; burden …   New Collegiate Dictionary