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AGGRAVATE

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AGGRAVATE

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sun Jul 30, 2006 10:57 pm

• aggravate •

Pronunciation: æ-grê-vayt • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb, transitive

Meaning: 1. To make heavy or heavier, to load, burden, as to be aggravated with the responsibilities of someone else's office. 2. To increase the gravity of, to make worse, exacerbate. 3. To annoy.

Notes: The word aggravate has been a bone of contention for centuries because of its meaning (see In Play). Its forms, however, are very straightforward. The abstract noun is aggravation while the agent noun is aggravator (remember the ending is -or and not -er). There is also an adjective, aggravative, meaning the same as aggravating, as an aggravative zipper that sticks all the time.

In Play: I recall being told in grammar school (as we called it then) that aggravate can only mean "make worse" and not simply "annoy", as in "This zipper aggravates me when it sticks like this." My teachers didn't know, however, that the word had borne both meanings since the 17th century and, moreover, the original Latin verb, aggravare, could be used in both senses as well (see Word History). So feel as free to say that the sticking zipper aggravates you to no end as you would to say, "Jerking it like that when it sticks only aggravates (makes worse) the problem."

Word History: Today's word is taken from the past participle (aggravatus) of the Latin verb aggravare "to make heavier or worse, to annoy." This verb is made up of ad "to" + gravare "to burden", based on the root gravis "heavy". We see this stem in many English words borrowed from Latin, such as grave "serious" and gravity. This word also devolved into Old French grever "to harm", which English borrowed as grieve which also gave us grief. The Proto-Indo-European root that gave rise to gravis also went on to become guru "heavy, serious, venerable" in Sanskrit, ancestor language of Hindi, whence English borrowed the word when India was a colony.
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Postby gailr » Sun Jul 30, 2006 11:18 pm

The same root gives us gravid and gravitas; whether either should be considered a burden or even just annoying probably depends on the circumstances.
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Postby Palewriter » Sun Jul 30, 2006 11:28 pm

The Good Doctor's apposite use of the soon-to-disappear-from-the-English-language word "whence" brought a smile to my lips and a spring to my step.

Punk made my day. :D

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Postby Perry » Mon Jul 31, 2006 7:26 am

This is amazing. Now I know that I can enjoy a gastronomical blow-out; and be aggravated by it at the same time.
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Postby Bailey » Mon Jul 31, 2006 11:33 am

B-u-u-u-u-u-u-urp, Really Perry? you never knew that?

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Postby Perry » Mon Jul 31, 2006 1:50 pm

Well at least you know to excuse yourself when you have an eruction.

Actually, I freely admit that I had never made the connection regarding definition 1. :oops:
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Postby sluggo » Mon Jul 31, 2006 1:54 pm

Perry wrote:Well at least you know to excuse yourself when you have an eruction....


:!: Perry, that's my line! Great Ceasar's ghost! Nicely done, mate.
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Re: AGGRAVATE

Postby Palewriter » Mon Jul 31, 2006 5:13 pm

Dr. Goodword wrote: I recall being told in grammar school (as we called it then) that aggravate can only mean "make worse" and not simply "annoy", as in "This zipper aggravates me when it sticks like this." My teachers didn't know, however, that the word had borne both meanings since the 17th century and, moreover, the original Latin verb, aggravare, could be used in both senses as well (see Word History). So feel as free to say that the sticking zipper aggravates you to no end as you would to say, "Jerking it like that when it sticks only aggravates (makes worse) the problem."


Perhaps some kindly soul could recommend to the grammar school teachers described above, and to others of that ilk, that aggravate's close cousin exacerbate might more clearly, and exclusively, express the notion of "making worse".

Exacerbate - to increase severity, violence, or bitterness of.

Latin ex-acerbāre - to make harsh.

In Use:

Recent increases in violence seem merely to have exacerbated an already difficult political situation.

-- PW
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention to arrive safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming: Wow!!! What a ride!"
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Re: AGGRAVATE

Postby gailr » Mon Jul 31, 2006 7:32 pm

Palewriter wrote: Perhaps some kindly soul could recommend to the grammar school teachers described above, and to others of that ilk, that aggravate's close cousin exacerbate might more clearly, and exclusively, express the notion of "making worse".

Exacerbate - to increase severity, violence, or bitterness of.

Latin ex-acerbāre - to make harsh.

In Use:

Recent increases in violence seem merely to have exacerbated an already difficult political situation.

-- PW

I've been seeing "exaggerate" used in place of "exacerbate", as in "that's just going to exaggerate the injury". Not sure if this is spell check gone wrong or an implication of hypochondria...
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Postby Huny » Mon Jul 31, 2006 10:44 pm

The reference the Good Doctor made of grammer schools reminds me of a teacher I had in grammer school (or elementary school as it was called in my day). She was a "gifted students" teacher (although I think I was put in by mistake) who, when a student would act up, would make said student wirte, from the dictionary, every word, mark and slash, verbatim, from the word "nitwit to numskull", with NO mistakes. And it had to be done by the next day along with any homework she decided to aggravate us with. No excuses. I was lucky to never have had to endure her wrath of self esteem homicide. I guess I wasn't smart enough to earn the dreadful punishment. Although, I dare say, being a "nitwit" in her class must of had it's advantages for me. I hope she is reading this (or maybe someone who knows her) and can see how petty she was. I actually still have flash backs of hearing her voice, always in a fake English accent...like she was royalty or something... :roll:
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Postby sluggo » Mon Jul 31, 2006 11:15 pm

Huny wrote:The reference the Good Doctor made of grammer schools reminds me of a teacher I had in grammer school (or elementary school as it was called in my day). She was a "gifted students" teacher (although I think I was put in by mistake) who, when a student would act up, would make said student wirte, from the dictionary, every word, mark and slash, verbatim, from the word "nitwit to numskull", with NO mistakes. And it had to be done by the next day along with any homework she decided to aggravate us with. No excuses. I was lucky to never have had to endure her wrath of self esteem homicide. I guess I wasn't smart enough to earn the dreadful punishment. Although, I dare say, being a "nitwit" in her class must of had it's advantages for me. I hope she is reading this (or maybe someone who knows her) and can see how petty she was. I actually still have flash backs of hearing her voice, always in a fake English accent...like she was royalty or something... :roll:


How aggravating!
Bears a startling resemblement to Gail's recent revelations in another goodword thread recently. Maybe they were related. But if we go on opening up our cans of worms from school daze, especially Catholic ones, we'll give everybody on the Board nightmares.

I have a feeling if your uh, teacher were reading this, we would know it by now.
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Postby Huny » Mon Jul 31, 2006 11:27 pm

sluggo wrote:
How aggravating!
Bears a startling resemblement to Gail's recent revelations in another goodword thread recently. Maybe they were related. But if we go on opening up our cans of worms from school daze, especially Catholic ones, we'll give everybody on the Board nightmares.

I have a feeling if your uh, teacher were reading this, we would know it by now.


Yeah, we would all the the equivalent to a cyberspace knuckle rap with a ruler. Whatever that may be.
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Postby Palewriter » Mon Jul 31, 2006 11:31 pm

I sometimes think that such bully pedagogues should be given the old heave-ho. Other times, though, I think they serve a certain purpose: to encourage youngsters to develop independent thought together with a healthy measure of iconoclasm.

The jury's still out.

-- PW
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Postby Huny » Mon Jul 31, 2006 11:34 pm

Palewriter wrote:I sometimes think that such bully pedagogues should be given the old heave-ho. Other times, though, I think they serve a certain purpose: to encourage youngsters to develop independent thought together with a healthy measure of iconoclasm.

The jury's still out.

-- PW


Who sent you??? :shock:
"What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compaired to what lies inside us." R.W.E.
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Re: AGGRAVATE

Postby Bailey » Tue Aug 01, 2006 1:00 am

Palewriter wrote:Perhaps some kindly soul could recommend to the grammar school teachers described above, and to others of that ilk, that aggravate's close cousin exacerbate might more clearly, and exclusively, express the notion of "making worse".

Exacerbate - to increase severity, violence, or bitterness of.

Latin ex-acerbāre - to make harsh.

In Use:

Recent increases in violence seem merely to have exacerbated an already difficult political situation.

-- PW

I love exacerbate it worries the masses and makes them think of the only three syllable word they actually know and love.

mark not-saying-anymore Bailey

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