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American Dictionary of the English Language

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Aggravate


AG'GRAVATE, verb transitive [Latin aggravo, of ad and gravis, heavy. See Grave, Gravity.]

1. To make heavy, but not used in this literal sense. Figuratively, to make worse, more severe, or less tolerable; as, to aggravate the evils of life; to aggravate pain or punishment.

2. To make more enormous, or less excusable; as, to aggravate a crime.

3. To exaggerate.

4. To give coloring in description; to give an exaggerated representation; as, to aggravate a charge against an offender; to aggravate circumstances.

The propriety of the word in the latter passage is questionable. aggravate is generally used in reference to evils, or something improper or unnatural.