Thursday, December 27, 2007

Don't be irritated

I never thought this word through either, though it makes perfect sense that it would have to do with weight, both literal and figurative.

aggravate, v.

To make heavy or heavier; hence, to put weight on; to add weight to; to add apparent weight or importance, to exaggerate.

I. To put weight upon.

1. trans. To make heavy; to load, burden, weigh down; hence, to cumber, impede, retard. Obs.

b. To load (any one) with. Obs.

2. To load or heap anything heavy upon. Obs.

3. trans. To lay to the charge of any one; to bring as a charge or ‘gravamen’ (against). Obs.

4. absol. To bring charges (upon). Obs.

II. To add weight to.

5. trans. To add weight or intensity to; to strengthen, increase, or magnify. Obs. in gen. sense.

6. esp. a. Of things evil: To increase the gravity of, to make more grievous or burdensome; to make worse, intensify, exacerbate.

b. Of offences: To make more heinous, or offensive; to increase in offensiveness.

7. To exasperate, incense, embitter (a person); famil. to provoke, arouse the evil feelings of.

b. To irritate, inflame (physically).

III. To add weight unduly.

8. To make the most of; to represent (a thing) as graver, more serious, or more important; to exaggerate. Obs. exc. in extension of 6.