I have heard "aggro" said in commentaries in a few different contexts and I have no idea what it really means. I can figure out what the commentator means, but I don't understand that word.

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    As you understand what the word means, and just want to understand the word itself, you should know that it's related to "Aggressive". The more "aggro" something is, the more aggressive it is. If someone is being aggro towards you, they're being aggressive, etc. Commented Mar 3, 2011 at 16:12
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    It's worth adding that the term was around long before MMORPGs. Commented Mar 3, 2011 at 16:14
  • @Django It comes from MUDs, does it not? Or did it predate those as well?
    – Grace Note
    Commented Mar 3, 2011 at 17:10
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    @Grace Note, I think it pre-dates video games. There's also a good article that does a better job of explaining the why of the word: en.wiktionary.org/wiki/aggro Commented Mar 3, 2011 at 19:02
  • @Grace Note Mum has been using this since the 70's and hasn't played a video game in her life. I don't think it's etymology puts it originally in games at all.
    – northirid
    Commented Mar 4, 2011 at 1:40

8 Answers 8


Aggro as a term originated in MMO's, but its usage has spread considerably.

Originally it was coined to describe any creature who would attack you on sight. So an "aggro" mob was one who would attack without being provoked, as opposed to one who wouldn't attack unless you attacked it first. The related usages here are "aggro range" or "aggro radius" which is the distance at which the mob will attack, and "aggro chain" which is whether or not the mob will bring his friends along, even if they are outside of normal aggro range.

As the games evolved "aggro" became the state of being attacked. If you were being attacked, you "had aggro", and if you did too much damage to something and it started attacking you instead of someone else you "stole aggro". If you did something stupid you could have "too much aggro" which meant too many things were drawn to attack you.

In your example, he's saying that the unit AI can be exploited because they don't chain aggro, so you can move into their aggro range, and individually "pull" them from their groups and eliminate them one at a time.

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    I've also heard it used as a verb, something like "Aggro one of the soldiers and then lead him back to your camp"
    – Kip
    Commented Mar 3, 2011 at 17:56
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    @kip: Yep, it's all purpose (though I usually hear it as "pull" in the context you're talking about). Commented Mar 3, 2011 at 19:29
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    As I commented on the question itself, this is not a gaming term, originally. Mum has been using this since the 70's and hasn't played a video game in her life. I don't think it's etymology puts it in games at all to start with. FWIW, aggro typically meant aggravated or upset. We used to have a morning cartoon show, "Agro's Cartoon Connection" - Agro was supposed to be an AU equivalent to Oscar the Grouch.
    – northirid
    Commented Mar 4, 2011 at 4:51
  • You're all wrong, it's the name of your horse from Shadow of the Colossus ;)
    – Alex
    Commented May 10, 2013 at 8:59
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    @SevenSidedDie notice how he says it typically meant aggravated or upset. The word in gaming is also used as shothand for aggravated or aggravation. Of course, the specific relation to virtual enemies being aggravated originated in MMOs, but the term still meant "aggravation" long before that, so this meaning does indeed predate online gaming. I think the confusion here comes from the meaning of "originated". If a term is used in a new context and its meaning slightly adapts to that context, it's origin is still the context and meaning it originally had. It's not a new term.
    – scenia
    Commented Apr 16, 2014 at 7:02

It means that you move closer to enemy forces (may be slightly attack 'em) and move back.
If your opponent does not react properly then only couple of units will "aggro" and start moving to attack your units. So you can easily pick them alone.

i.e. as terran you can aggro enemy to go into range of your tanks

you can also check wiki. Starcraft's AI uses distance and type of unit to determine what to attack.


"Aggro" is a shorted form of aggravate, meaning to annoy someone or something so it will attack you.

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    This is actually more accurate than a lot of the upvoted answers here...
    – scenia
    Commented Apr 16, 2014 at 7:05
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    Why was this downvoted?
    – flith
    Commented Oct 27, 2016 at 7:55
  • This is the correct answer and yet it's downvoted ... I wonder where society goes to? I guess some people did not get all the aggro in WoW :D Commented Nov 15, 2018 at 7:57

"Aggro" is short for aggravate, instead of aggressive.

In short, aggressive is a state. An enemy is aggressive towards all players, but who they attack is determined by their level of aggravation towards the different members of the player group. Depending on the game, it can be affected by a number of factors such as DPS, abilities, or even healing allies.

Here are some sample sentences:

  • "Don't aggro the boss until you clear the adds."
    • Aggravate makes more sense than aggressive in this context.
  • "Those enemies have a very large or small aggro radius."
    • Aggravation works better than aggressive or aggression, because mobs that trigger based on range are considered "aggressive" already.
  • "X DPS class out aggro'd the tank, that's what caused the wipe."
    • It makes more sense that it means "X DPS caused the enemy more aggravation than the tank, thus causing the enemy to shift its focus."
  • "Go aggressive those mobs and pull them over here or that wandering giant will aggro us while we fight." See how that sounds weird?
    – Jaster83
    Commented Nov 14, 2018 at 19:10

Aggro basically means aggressive. If you see or hear it in a game in reference to something (ex. Juliet in Lollipop Chainsaw complaining that the zombies are being so aggro) it just means that they're aggressive and will attack you.

  • It means aggravated much more often though.
    – scenia
    Commented Apr 16, 2014 at 7:03

It is a shortened form of aggressive. It describes monsters that will recklessly attack with no regards to their own defence. This term is in Magic the Gathering, a popular TCG, it is a type of deck with cheap, fast creatures that have high attack but low defence to try kill the opponent as quickly as possible. Aggro creatures are mainly in red. Mono-Red decks and Red-White decks are commonly used as aggro decks.


"Aggro" means to have aggression, and to be extremely violent. Monsters with high "aggro" are to avoided unless you want a serious fight on your hands. I never heard this term until I played video games, don't know where it came from, all sources seem to be inaccurate when they say it was before MMORPG's. It clearly means violent, mad, and aggressive in MMO terms though, which makes sense anyway, any other usage is silly. Which is why no one else has ever heard of it before MMORPG's because it IS a term that originated from them, at least in an intelligent form anyway.


Aggro means to draw aggressions of others towards yourself; obtaining surrounding enemy attention and weapons fire towards onto oneself. An example would be an army unit in combat, exchanging fire, and you need to get the rest of your unit to safer position. Multiple people are "pinned down" (cant move at all or they will take a hit. Therefore, you (have slightly better position) start firing at enemies. You thereby become the Aggro so your people can move. Used in the US army and military.

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