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 Would this script, written by Zach Baylin, authentically capture the Williams patriarch or further sensationalize the narrative that his larger-than-life personality had garnered in the press? Sonaiya Kelley, Los Angeles Times, 19 Nov. 2021 Like our example above, scammers will sensationalize their messages with eye-catching topical issues designed to evoke an immediate response. Ryan Shopp, Forbes, 3 Nov. 2021 Tresch has painted a full landscape of the journalism of the time, describing the conflicts between writers who made serious scientific observations and those eager to sensationalize or misrepresent new discoveries. Bob Blaisdell, The Christian Science Monitor, 3 Aug. 2021 The tragic reason why RFK’s campaign ended is well known, and this show doesn’t sensationalize it at all., 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, 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, 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,, 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, 4 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

22 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sensationalize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of sensationalize

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

More from Merriam-Webster on sensationalize

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sensationalize

Nglish: Translation of sensationalize for Spanish Speakers


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