Tag Archive - Irritate vs. Aggravate

Are You Irritated or Aggravated?

Does it irritate you when people use aggravate when they mean annoy? Or are you just confused about the correct use of these two words?

Aggravate comes from Latin, and if you look carefully you’ll see its root—grave. The original meaning was to make heavy or increase the burden. Over the years the meaning and usage morphed into meaning “to make worse or more serious,” or “to intensify.”

  • The spicy chili aggravated Malcolm’s colitis.

But aggravate can also mean annoy or exasperate—synonyms for irritate. In fact, that meaning came into use about the same time as the previous meaning. Continue Reading…