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

Definition of aggrandize

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

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Other Words from aggrandize

aggrandizement \ ə-​ˈgran-​dəz-​mənt How to pronounce aggrandizement (audio) , -​ˌdīz-​ also  ˌa-​grən-​ˈdīz-​ \ noun
aggrandizer \ ə-​ˈgran-​ˌdī-​zər How to pronounce aggrandizer (audio) also  ˈa-​grən-​ \ noun

Did You Know?

Aggrandize has enhanced the English vocabulary since the early 17th century. English speakers adapted "agrandiss-," the stem of the French verb agrandir, to form "aggrandize," and later used the French form agrandissement as the basis of the noun "aggrandizement." (The root of "agrandiss-" is Latin; it comes from grandis, meaning "great.") Nowadays, both noun and verb are regularly paired (somewhat disparagingly) with the prefix self- to refer to individuals bent on glorifying themselves, as in the following sentence by Barbara Buchholz which appeared in the Chicago Tribune in 1995: "Celebrity authors eager to reveal all, self-aggrandize and wear their royalties in expensive attire. . . ."

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 of books on tape

Recent Examples on the Web

Sánchez had wanted to exhume the former dictator from the Valley of the Fallen, a self-aggrandizing mausoleum, on June 10 and move the embalmed body to a public cemetery in the outskirts of Madrid. Washington Post, "Spanish court halts government plan to exhume Franco," 5 June 2019 On the Calcutta Maidan, or central parade ground, one morning in January 1906, the Prince of Wales tapped into place the foundation stone of British India’s most self-aggrandizing monument. Maya Jasanoff, The New York Review of Books, "Lost Calcutta," 23 May 2019 Reprinting the self-aggrandizing selfies a killer has posted to social media prior to an attack, for example, is not helpful. Corinne Purtill, Quartz, "A small change in the way we talk about mass shootings could help prevent them," 4 June 2019 Theranos' second-in-command was Sunny Balwani, her combative and self-aggrandizing boyfriend. Kevin Nguyen, GQ, "Bad Blood Review: The Biggest Scam in Silicon Valley," 21 May 2018 But the movie is slightly ahead of the curve in branding Assange as a self-aggrandizing hustler. Noel Murray, The Verge, "Why The Fifth Estate is the perfect thing to stream this weekend," 11 May 2018 This self-aggrandizing, reality-denying flavor of egotism has defined Trump for decades, through his roller-coaster business career and into political life. Benjamin Hart, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump’s Reality Distortion Field Could be a Huge Asset for Democrats This Fall," 28 Apr. 2018 But rarely have two advisers been as publicly praised or as internally aggrandized as national security adviser John Bolton and top economist Larry Kudlow, who entered the West Wing this month from perches at cable television networks. Kevin Liptak, CNN, "Bolton, Kudlow on the rise, but risks abound," 19 Apr. 2018 Russell Westbrook won last year at Oklahoma City in an offense that allowed him to aggrandize his own statistics, putting up a season-long triple-double for a team that bowed in the first round of the playoffs to Harden's Rockets. Bill Livingston,, "Cleveland Cavaliers 2018: The case for LeBron James as MVP -- Bill Livingston (photos)," 8 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'aggrandize.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of aggrandize

1634, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for aggrandize

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

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Last Updated

12 Jul 2019

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The first known use of aggrandize was in 1634

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