sen·​sa·​tion·​al·​ize | \ sen-ˈsā-shnə-ˌlīz How to pronounce sensationalize (audio) \
sensationalized; sensationalizing

Definition of sensationalize

transitive verb

: to present in a sensational manner

Examples of sensationalize in a Sentence

Journalists should report the news accurately without trying to sensationalize it.
Recent Examples on the Web The tragic reason why RFK’s campaign ended is well known, and this show doesn’t sensationalize it at all., "Review: ‘Kennedy: Bobby’s Last Crusade,’ a film of a play, shown in a ballpark," 23 Sep. 2020 Despite every effort to sensationalize the mystery at the series' center, there simply isn't enough story to justify eight episodes. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, "Review: HBO's new 'Perry Mason' has only one thing going for it: Matthew Rhys," 19 June 2020 His story has also given new energy to animal-rights activists, who say the documentary chose to sensationalize feuds and missed an opportunity to expose cruelty at roadside zoos. Alan Yuhas, New York Times, "What Happened After ‘Tiger King’," 1 Apr. 2020 Haas refuses to sensationalize a life that could easily veer into stereotype, and toes the line between awe at the freedom her life provides, and the terrifying loss of the people and beliefs that anchored her worldview. Anne Cohen,, "Meet The Star Of Your Next Binge-Watch: Netflix’s Unorthodox," 26 Mar. 2020 As the public becomes more experienced at watching massacres unfold live online, a few informal rules have emerged: Don’t sensationalize the gunman. Abby Ohlheiser, Washington Post, "As bystanders share videos of El Paso’s violent aftermath, strangers online beg them to stop," 4 Aug. 2019 Inserting Lepage’s actual photos throughout the narrative, Bojkine guides us through the action in a style that avoids easy sentiment and never tries to sensationalize the events depicted. Jordan Mintzer, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Camille': Film Review," 24 Oct. 2019 The proliferation of these videos exposed another bias, Williams said: The public, including some media outlets, is more inclined to share and sensationalize images of the bodies of people of color. Abby Ohlheiser, Washington Post, "As bystanders share videos of El Paso’s violent aftermath, strangers online beg them to stop," 4 Aug. 2019 And yet Arnett, rather than using taxidermy to sensationalize this process, presents the craft as a moving testament to what art cannot do. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, "Taxidermy Is a Metaphor for Our Time," 21 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sensationalize.' 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 sensationalize

1863, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of sensationalize was in 1863

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Last Updated

4 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sensationalize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Dec. 2020.

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How to pronounce sensationalize (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sensationalize

disapproving : to describe or show something in a way that makes it seem more shocking than it really is

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