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From Latin exasperō; ex (out of; thoroughly) + asperō (make rough), from asper (rough).



exasperate (third-person singular simple present exasperates, present participle exasperating, simple past and past participle exasperated)

  1. To tax the patience of, irk, frustrate, vex, provoke, annoy; to make angry.
    • c. 1611, William Shakespeare, Macbeth, act 3, scene 6:
      And this report
      Hath so exasperate [sic] the king that he
      Prepares for some attempt of war.
    • 1851, Herman Melville, Moby Dick, chapter 3:
      The picture represents a Cape-Horner in a great hurricane; the half-foundered ship weltering there with its three dismantled masts alone visible; and an exasperated whale, purposing to spring clean over the craft, is in the enormous act of impaling himself upon the three mast-heads.
    • 1853, Charles Dickens, Bleak House, chapter 11:
      Beadle goes into various shops and parlours, examining the inhabitants; always shutting the door first, and by exclusion, delay, and general idiotcy, exasperating the public.
    • 1987 January 5, "Woman of the Year: Corazon Aquino," Time:
      [S]he exasperates her security men by acting as if she were protected by some invisible shield.
    • 2007 June 4, "Loyal Mail," Times Online (UK) (retrieved 7 Oct 2010):
      News that Adam Crozier, Royal Mail chief executive, is set to receive a bumper bonus will exasperate postal workers.



exasperate (comparative more exasperate, superlative most exasperate)

  1. (obsolete) exasperated; embittered.
    • c. 1601, William Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida, Act V, Scene 1,[1]
      Thersites. Do I curse thee?
      Patroclus. Why no, you ruinous butt, you whoreson indistinguishable cur, no.
      Thersites. No! why art thou then exasperate, thou idle immaterial skein of sleave-silk []
    • 1856, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Aurora Leigh, London: Chapman & Hall, 1857, Book 4, p. 177,[2]
      Like swallows which the exasperate dying year
      Sets spinning []

Related terms[edit]

See also[edit]


  • exasperate” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2020.



  • IPA(key): /eksaspeˈrate/, /eɡzaspeˈrate/



  1. adverbial present passive participle of exasperar





  1. second-person plural present active imperative of exasperō