Build your vocabulary with Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day! Each day a Merriam-Webster editor offers insight into a fascinating new word -- explaining its meaning, current use, and little-known details about its origin.
April 10th, 2016
Episode 500 of 717 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for April 10, 2016 is: exasperate \ig-ZASS-puh-rayt\ verb 1 : to excite the anger of : enrage 2 : to cause irritation or annoyance to Examples: Lila quickly became exasperated by her new roommate's habit of leaving her dirty dishes in the sink. "'Bless me, Father, for I have sinned' are the first words we hear from Mannix, a married Catholic who exasperates his priest in Confession by asking forgiveness on an almost daily basis." — Peter Travers, Rolling Stone, 23 Feb. 2016 Did you know? Exasperate hangs with a rough crowd. It derives from exasperatus, the past participle of the Latin verb exasperare, which in turn was formed by combining ex- with asper, meaning "rough." Another descendant of asper in English is asperity, which can refer to the roughness of a surface or the roughness of someone's temper. Another relative, albeit a distant one, is the English word spurn, meaning "to reject." Lest you wish to exasperate your readers, you should take care not to confuse exasperate with the similar-sounding exacerbate, another Latin-derived verb that means "to make worse," as in "Their refusal to ask for help only exacerbated the problem."