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 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 Share isn’t the kind of movie to clumsily advocate for anything, or sensationalize its subject (Bianco recently directed an episode of HBO’s Euphoria, which is a much less sensitive production). Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "The Intimate Horror of Share," 27 July 2019 But as a scholar of digital media and sexuality, my hunch is that these headlines sensationalize Facebook’s impact on online dating ecology. Chelsea Reynolds, Fortune, "Why Millennials Will Swipe Left on Facebook’s New Dating Service," 1 May 2018 As the mystery of the recruit’s disappearance is slowly unveiled and the emotional baton passes to his bewildered mother (Jennifer Aniston), the director refuses to sensationalize the tragedy, melting it into a broader narrative of everyday horrors. David Lowery, New York Times, "Review: In ‘The Yellow Birds,’ Two Soldiers Deploy, but Only One Comes Home," 14 June 2018 Research suggests that news stories that report in detail on, among other things, the method used, can sensationalize suicide and increase the risk of similar deaths. Amanda Gardner,, "What to Say–and What Not to Say–When You Talk About Suicide," 12 June 2018 Stories are being fabricated to sensationalize this…I was so manipulated by the attorney general and now by Judge Aquilina. Alice Park, Time, "Judge Aquilina Delivers Powerful Statement Before Sentencing Larry Nassar: 'I Just Signed Your Death Warrant'," 24 Jan. 2018 The book doesn’t sensationalize the condition, though. The Editors, Outside Online, "What Our Editors Loved in March," 29 Mar. 2018

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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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

Comments on sensationalize

What made you want to look up sensationalize? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to engage in dissolute behavior

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