Printable Version
Pronunciation: ê-greev Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb

Meaning: 1. To cause harm, to wrong, to cause anxiety, suffering, or pain unjustly. 2. To feel resentment at being treated unfairly, as the aggrieved party in a civil court case.

Notes: This verb offers two choices for a derived noun: aggrievance and aggrievement. We have a third rather obvious noun, for the present participle aggrieving may be used as a noun, too.

In Play: The past participle is the form of this word most often encountered today: "Aggrieved parties are more and more likely to report their grievances to the press before reporting them to law enforcement officers." However, other forms are available: "Herman aggrieved his girlfriend by announcing on Facebook that their breakup was initiated by him, not her."

Word History: Today's Good Word was copied from French aggraver "to worsen" under the influenced by words like grievance and grief. French inherited its verb from Latin aggravare "make heavier, more oppressive". The Latin verb is made up of ad "(up) to" + gravare "to weigh down", derived from gravis "heavy". Gravis reflects a metathesized version of a PIE word something like gwerê- "heavy", whence also the English noun and adjective grave. Sanskrit guru "heavy; venerable" came from the same source as did Greek barus "heavy". We see the root of this word in the English borrowing baritone, which meant "deep sounding" in the original Greek.

Dr. Goodword,

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