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 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

Eventually, in Beran’s aggrandizing telling, 4chan’s crescendo of furious nihilism delivers President Trump to America. Emma Grey Ellis, WIRED, "WIRED Book of the Month: It Came From Something Awful," 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, "Theater review: ‘Ride the Cyclone’ is loopy, thoughtful, thoroughly enjoyable," 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,, "Packers 10, Bears 3: Defense shines but offense fizzles in a season-opening setback," 5 Sep. 2019 Unfortunately, this is in an environment of strident self-aggrandizing self-righteousness. Letters To The Editor, The Mercury News, "Letter: Violence rooted in cultural bipolar insanity," 7 Aug. 2019 The more self-aggrandizing inmates, the ones who imagined themselves as the inspiration for a big-budget thriller, saw talking to Cox as an opportunity to get their story out there. Rachel Monroe, The Atlantic, "The True-Crime Writer in Cellblock B4," 16 July 2019 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

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

4 Oct 2019

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The first known use of aggrandize was in 1634

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to fake an opponent out of position

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