Why was clemency trending last week?


[ag-ruh-vey-tid] /ˈæg rəˌveɪ tɪd/
annoyed; irritated:
I get so aggravated when I get this much junk mail.
Law. characterized by some feature defined by law that enhances the crime, as the intention of the criminal or the special vulnerability of the victim: aggravated assault; aggravated rape.
Origin of aggravated
1540-50; aggravate + -ed2
Related forms
unaggravated, adjective


[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.
1425-75; late Middle English < Latin aggravātus (past participle of aggravāre), equivalent to ag- ag- + grav- (see grave2) + -ātus -ate1; cf. aggrieve
Related forms
aggravative, adjective
aggravator, noun
overaggravate, verb (used with object), overaggravated, overaggravating.
preaggravate, verb (used with object), preaggravated, preaggravating.
reaggravate, verb (used with object), reaggravated, reaggravating.
Can be confused
aggravate, annoy, intensify, irritate, worsen (see synonym study at the current entry)
1. heighten, increase. Aggravate, intensify both mean to increase in degree. To aggravate is to make more serious or more grave: to aggravate a danger, an offense, a wound. To intensify is perceptibly to increase intensity, force, energy, vividness, etc.: to intensify heat, color, rage. 2. anger, vex, rile.
1. alleviate.
Usage note
The two most common senses of aggravate are “to make worse” and “to annoy or exasperate.” Both senses first appeared in the early 17th century at almost the same time; the corresponding two senses of the noun aggravation also appeared then. Both senses of aggravate and aggravation have been standard since then. The use of aggravate to mean “annoy” is sometimes objected to because it departs from the etymological meaning “to make heavier,” and in formal speech and writing the sense “annoy” is somewhat less frequent than “to make worse.” The noun aggravation meaning “annoyance” occurs in all types of speech and writing. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for aggravated
  • Some doctors will say that you are suffering from emotional distress, aggravated perhaps by lack of exercise.
  • It was easy to see in her voice that she was getting aggravated.
  • The other conditions may be aggravated by tonsillitis though doctors disagree on meningitis and digestive involvements.
  • The charge was amended from an aggravated to a serious misdemeanor.
  • The disruptions this week made aggravated passengers reroute their journeys, use alternative transit means, and walk.
  • Bike riding probably aggravated my back issue.
  • He died of a heart attack aggravated by a history of diabetes, his family said.
  • The impact of seniority pay is aggravated where companies must pay extra pension or health contributions on behalf of older staff.
  • He was charged with disturbing the peace and aggravated assault, Hicks said.
  • The threat of war has aggravated an already awful predicament.
British Dictionary definitions for aggravated


(law) (of a criminal offence) made more serious by its circumstances


verb (transitive)
to make (a disease, situation, problem, etc) worse or more severe
(informal) to annoy; exasperate, esp by deliberate and persistent goading
Derived Forms
aggravating, adjective
aggravation, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin aggravāre to make heavier, from gravis heavy
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for aggravated

1540s, "increased, magnified," past participle adjective from aggravate. Meaning "irritated" is from 1610s; that of "made worse" is from 1630s. The earlier adjective was simply aggravate (late 15c.).



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for aggravated

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for aggravated

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with aggravated