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Definition of aggravate


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ag·gra·vate  audio  (gr-vt) KEY 

TRANSITIVE VERB:
ag·gra·vat·ed, ag·gra·vat·ing, ag·gra·vates
  1. To make worse or more troublesome.
  2. To rouse to exasperation or anger; provoke. See Synonyms at annoy.

ETYMOLOGY:
Latin aggravre, aggravt- : ad-, ad- + gravre, to burden (from gravis, heavy; see gwer-1 in Indo-European roots)

OTHER FORMS:
aggra·vating·ly(Adverb), aggra·vative(Adjective), aggra·vator(Noun)
Usage Note:
Aggravate comes from the Latin verb aggravre, which meant "to make heavier," that is, "to add to the weight of." It also had the extended senses "to annoy" and "to oppress." Some people claim that aggravate can only mean "to make worse," and not "to irritate," on the basis of the word's etymology. But in doing so, they ignore not only an English sense in use since the 17th century, but also one of the original Latin ones. Sixty-eight percent of the Usage Panel approves of its use in It's the endless wait for luggage that aggravates me the most about air travel.


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