exacerbate was our Word of the Day on 09/11/2014. Hear the podcast!
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Examples of exacerbate in a Sentence
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
The proposed factory shutdown would only exacerbate our unemployment problems.
His angry comments have exacerbated tensions in the negotiation process.
Recent Examples of exacerbate from the Web
Exacerbating the violence is that black citizens of Chicago have a history of being overpoliced.
Much of it remains a blur of mania exacerbated by drugs and alcohol.
That started the slide; Christie’s unsuccessful presidential bid exacerbated it.
Previous attorney generals, including Eric Holder and Sally Yates, ordered prosecutors to avoid charges that exacerbated the mass prison industrial complex and to cease using private prisons to house federal prisoners.
Diseases are either induced, sustained or exacerbated by stress.
That power was further exacerbated by the post-assault reality.
The procedure on his fifth metatarsal was done to keep the injury from exacerbating into a fracture.
Murakami's men grapple with the universal existential loneliness of being human, but their fears and anxieties are exacerbated even more by their emotional disconnection from the women in their lives.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'exacerbate'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
exacerbate vs. exasperate
Exacerbate is frequently confused with exasperate, and with good reason. Not only do these words resemble one another in spelling and pronunciation, they also at one time held exceedingly similar meanings. Exasperate is today most commonly used as a synonym of annoy, but for several hundred years it also had the meanings “to make more grievous” and “to make harsh or harsher.” Exacerbate is now the more common choice of these two words when one seeks to indicate that something is becoming increasingly bitter, violent, or unpleasant. It comes in part from the Latin word acer, meaning “sharp,” whereas exasperate is from asper, the Latin word for “rough.”
Did You Know?
Make it a point to know that the Latin adjective acer, meaning "sharp," forms the basis of a number of words that have come into English. The words acerbic ("having a bitter temper or sour mood"), acrid ("having a sharp taste or odor"), and acrimony ("a harsh manner or disposition") are just the tip of the iceberg. First appearing in English in the 17th century, exacerbate derives from the Latin prefix ex-, which means "out of" or "outside," and acerbus, which means "harsh" or "bitter" and comes from acer. Just as pouring salt in a wound worsens pain, things that exacerbate can cause a situation to go from bad to worse. A pointed insult, for example, might exacerbate tensions between two rivals.
EXACERBATE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of exacerbate for English Language Learners
: to make (a bad situation, a problem, etc.) worse
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