Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To increase the severity, violence, or bitterness of; aggravate: a speech that exacerbated racial tensions; a heavy rainfall that exacerbated the flood problems.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To make worse (pain, anger, etc.) worse; aggravate.
  • v. To irritate.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To render more violent or bitter; to irritate; to exasperate; to imbitter, as passions or disease.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To increase the bitterness or virulence of; make more violent, as a disease, or angry, hostile, or malignant feelings; aggravate; exasperate.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. make worse
  • v. exasperate or irritate

Etymologies

Latin exacerbāre, exacerbāt- : ex-, intensive pref.; see ex- + acerbāre, to make harsh (from acerbus, harsh; see ak- in Indo-European roots).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • "How everybody's all pretending they know what in hell the word exacerbate means."

    Alvin Journeyman

  • Although litigation may be necessary at some point, Mr. King's lawsuit has only served to "exacerbate" negotiations with BP, Mr. Riley said in an interview.

    Spill Payments Irk Alabama Business

  • He also warned Nato not to "exacerbate" its presence in the region.

    Russia and Norway resolve Arctic border dispute

  • Why am I sure the Pope's reply will be couched in some stupid definition of "exacerbate" along the lines of "encourage promiscuous behaviour"?

    News from the House of Sticks -

  • Anamika, who tied for fifth in her debut last year, kept both hands behind her back as she rattled off "exacerbate" and "foggara."

    ABC News: Top Stories

  • He added that the proliferation of netbooks and other mobile devices featuring ARM-based processors would be sure to "exacerbate" a rising demand for faster data access.

    TG Daily

  • And obviously you kind of exacerbate it by currency.

    SeekingAlpha.com: Home Page

  • Geeslin indicated that increasing TWIA rates at this time would "exacerbate" the burdens faced by Texas living along the coast but recognized that "some modest rate increases" might

    Insurance Journal

  • So we kind of exacerbate that dynamic to the fullest.

    Latest News - MovieWeb.com

  • Both Wordsworth and Coleridge left Cambridge with a love of literature, and a revolutionary fervor that would only exacerbate their troubles.

    Wordsworth & Coleridge I « Tales from the Reading Room

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "These days, schizophrenia is often imagined as the quintessential brain disease, an expression of underlying organic vulnerability perhaps exacerbated by environmental stress, but as real and as obdurate as kidney failure" -- American Scholar

    August 27, 2012

  • Eating Animals

    July 2, 2010

  • As I always say, I use the word 'exacerbate' at least once in every school assignment, because almost everything will inevitably get worse ^_^

    July 4, 2009

  • Did look down the list but it's so gigantic I missed it! Damn it.

    May 9, 2008

  • That's why it's listed on Kangaroo Words 2.

    May 9, 2008

  • But abate is (roughly) an antonym of exacerbate…?

    May 8, 2008

  • exAcerBATE

    May 7, 2008

  • "And I have to say that what exacerbates the problem is..." - "A Miracle Would Happen," The Last Five Years

    January 10, 2007