aggrandize

verb

ag·​gran·​dize ə-ˈgran-ˌdīz How to pronounce aggrandize (audio)
 also  ˈa-grən-
aggrandized; aggrandizing

transitive verb

1
: to make great or greater : increase, enlarge
aggrandize an estate
2
: to make appear great or greater : praise highly
3
: to enhance the power, wealth, position, or reputation of
exploited the situation to aggrandize himself
aggrandizement
ə-ˈgran-dəz-mənt How to pronounce aggrandize (audio)
-ˌdīz-
 also  ˌa-grən-ˈdīz-
noun
aggrandizer
ə-ˈgran-ˌdī-zər How to pronounce aggrandize (audio)
 also  ˈa-grən-
noun

Did you know?

Aggrandize is a grand word, and we don’t just mean that in praise. The word literally traces back to the Latin adjective grandis, meaning "grand," and it has enhanced the English language for over three centuries. Nowadays, aggrandize is often paired with self (either the word or the prefix: to "aggrandize oneself" or to "be self-aggrandizing" is to glorify oneself, or to intently pursue power, wealth, and the like. It's of course great to take pride in a job well done, but we stan those who keep it real—after all, not every hit can be a grand slam.

Examples of aggrandize in a Sentence

a movie that aggrandizes the bad guys and makes the cops look like dopes a generous grant, enabling the library to significantly aggrandize its collection
Recent Examples on the Web The project of applying modern standards to our forebears to aggrandize ourselves has also taken aim at some of the giants of Western political history. Daniel Foster, National Review, 30 Nov. 2023 And there have been numerous biographies published since his death in 2018, some aggrandizing, some clear-eyed. Borys Kit, The Hollywood Reporter, 27 Dec. 2023 Kersten managed to elude any real comeuppance for his antics in part through forged records and aggrandizing books about his wartime role. Scott Martelle, Washington Post, 3 May 2023 The relaxed opening Allegro caught the humor of the moment when the full orchestra aggrandizes the composer’s humble tune; the nervously pacing Larghetto anticipated Romeo’s pacing beneath Juliet’s balcony. Jeffrey Gantz, BostonGlobe.com, 17 Feb. 2023 As in his 2000 take on Hamlet, which recasts Shakespeare’s dithering hero (Ethan Hawke, incidentally) as an experimental filmmaker contemplating suicide in the Action aisle of a Blockbuster Video, Almereyda’s aim is not to aggrandize his source material but to diminish it. John Semley, The New Republic, 26 Aug. 2020 Instead, the film inaugurates a tradition that misses the forest for the trees—critiques of political professionals that aggrandize them as the frustrating yet endlessly fascinating loci of all our problems. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, 25 Apr. 2022 America’s public discourse seems to consist of a never-ending series of brief monologues, typed out on social media and intended to wound others and aggrandize the self. Jory Fleming, WSJ, 17 June 2021 The tax mandate is an egregious affront to federalism that would aggrandize Washington and erode interstate economic-policy competition. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 16 May 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'aggrandize.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

borrowed (with assimilation of the ending to -ize) from French agrandiss-, stem of agrandir, going back to Old French, from a-, verb-forming prefix (going back to Latin ad- ad-) + -grandir, verbal derivative of grand "large, great," going back to Latin grandis "fully grown, large, great" — more at grand entry 1

First Known Use

1634, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of aggrandize was in 1634

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Dictionary Entries Near aggrandize

Cite this Entry

“Aggrandize.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aggrandize. Accessed 14 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

aggrandize

verb
ag·​gran·​dize ə-ˈgran-ˌdīz How to pronounce aggrandize (audio)
 also  ˈag-rən-
aggrandized; aggrandizing
: to make great or greater (as in power, wealth, or reputation)
aggrandizement
ə-ˈgran-dəz-mənt How to pronounce aggrandize (audio)
-ˌdīz-
 also  ˌag-rən-ˈdīz-mənt
noun
aggrandizer noun
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