ag·​gran·​dize | \ ə-ˈgran-ˌdīz How to pronounce aggrandize (audio) also ˈa-grən- \
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 aggrandize (audio) , -​ˌdīz-​ also  ˌa-​grən-​ˈdīz-​ \ noun
aggrandizer \ ə-​ˈgran-​ˌdī-​zər How to pronounce aggrandize (audio) also  ˈa-​grən-​ \ noun

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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 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 Soon Parveen discovers that Crane’s book is a self-aggrandizing fabric of lies. Katherine A. Powers, Washington Post, 19 Nov. 2019 The second outing with self-aggrandizing stalker (and murderer) Joe is just as addictive as the first, if a little repetitive. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, 4 Dec. 2019 What had happened to this diminutive scholar from Baghdad, in Iraq's dusty plains and dense alleyways, to leave him capable of such a self-aggrandizing pronouncement and the sickening violence that went with it? Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, 27 Oct. 2019 Eventually, in Beran’s aggrandizing telling, 4chan’s crescendo of furious nihilism delivers President Trump to America. Emma Grey Ellis, WIRED, 31 July 2019 There’s Eastern European folk music, soft shoe numbers, self-aggrandizing hip-hop, guitar rock and more. Dominic P. Papatola, Twin Cities, 15 Sep. 2019 Da story behind Da Bears — and how the sausage-eating, Mike Ditka-obsessed, Chicago-aggrandizing Super Fans are still part of Chicago sports today. Colleen Kane,, 5 Sep. 2019

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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The first known use of aggrandize was in 1634

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Cite this Entry

“Aggrandize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Oct. 2021.

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