Aggravate vs aggregate

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Aggravate and aggregate are two words that are very close in spelling and pronunciation, but have very different meanings. We will examine the difference between the definitions of aggravate and aggregate, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Aggravate means to make an injury, problem or situation worse, to increase the severity of a circumstance. Aggravate may also mean to annoy or vex someone. The word aggravate is used as a legal term in criminal law when referring to an offense that is above and beyond the usual circumstance of a crime. Crimes such as robbery, burglary, assault and battery and kidnapping may carry a higher penalty when considering aggravating factors. Some aggravating factors may include the use of a weapon, particularly heinous injuries inflicted upon a victim or lack of remorse in the defendant. Aggravate is a transitive verb, which is a verb that takes an object. Related words are aggravates, aggravated, aggravating, aggravatingly, aggravation. The word aggravate is derived from the Latin word aggravatus which means add to the weight of something.

An aggregate is an amount made up of several smaller amounts or a whole made up of several smaller elements. Aggregate may also describe something that is composed of many smaller shards or pieces. Crushed rock or gravel called aggregate is often used in construction. The word aggregate may be used as a noun, adjective or verb, related words are aggregates, aggregated, aggregating, aggregation. Aggregate is derived from the Latin word aggregatus which means united.


Pollutants in smoke can cause burning eyes, runny nose, aggravate heart and lung diseases, and aggravate other serious health problems. (The Chinook Observer)

Police are responding to an alleged aggravated assault incident that sent a 12-year-old to the hospital. (The NOrtheast Mississippi Daily Journal)

Because my heartstrings were pulled, I’ve found myself taking on client projects I actively didn’t want and that didn’t pay enough to justify the aggravation. (Forbes Magazine)

The Alberta government has issued a Water Act enforcement order to Associated Aggregates Inc. to restore part of a sand and gravel pit adjacent to the North Saskatchewan River. (The Journal of Commerce)

This is the concept of making it easier for residents and businesses to aggregate and purchase energy – which could potentially solve problems associated with relying on National Grid to purchase and supply energy wholesale. (The Cranston HErald)