: to make (a bad situation, a problem, etc.) worse
Full Definition of EXACERBATE
: to make more violent, bitter, or severe <the new law only exacerbates the problem>
See exacerbate defined for English-language learners
Examples of EXACERBATE
The proposed factory shutdown would only exacerbate our unemployment problems.
His angry comments have exacerbated tensions in the negotiation process.
The declining retirement security faced by growing numbers of Americans is being exacerbated by increasing longevity and quickly rising health care costs. —Jeff Madrick, New York Review of Books, 20 Mar. 2008
… the sway that pack journalism holds on the Beltway press corps persists. The Crowd is never so influential as in the ever-lengthening season of presidential campaigns. The feverish obsessions of the blogosphere have only exacerbated the phenomenon: Now the herd just turns faster in pursuit of some ginned-up “controversy” or faux scandal. —Editor & Publisher, April 2007