wors·​en | \ ˈwər-sᵊn How to pronounce worsen (audio) \
worsened; worsening\ ˈwərs-​niŋ How to pronounce worsening (audio) , ˈwər-​sᵊn-​iŋ \

Definition of worsen

intransitive verb

: to become worse the weather began to worsen

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Examples of worsen in a Sentence

Spending more money is only going to worsen the problem. the condition of the house worsened with every year of neglect

Recent Examples on the Web

To a medical system that’s been dealing with worsening antibiotic resistance for decades, this chronology feels somewhat familiar: just another, potentially tougher battle to face. Maryn Mckenna, WIRED, "The Strange and Curious Case of the Deadly Superbug Yeast," 13 July 2018 Los Angeles Times The Hollywood sign — a symbol of Los Angeles’ signature industry — has for decades been blamed for worsening traffic congestion and parking in the surrounding communities. Shelby Grad, latimes.com, "Essential California: Why the heat left so many powerless in L.A.," 10 July 2018 One of the largest pain management groups in the Southeast is closing multiple clinics amid worsening financial troubles and a federal criminal investigation that targeted its former chief executive. Fred Schulte, Washington Post, "Tennessee-Based Pain Management Group To Close Clinics Amid Financial Turmoil," 9 July 2018 AP Job growth has been surprisingly healthy this year despite worsening worker shortages and that trend may well have continued in June. Paul Davidson, USA TODAY, "ADP: Businesses added 177,000 jobs in June," 5 July 2018 And the Portuguese manager apparently blames Raiola for worsening the rift. SI.com, "Jose Mourinho Wants France International and Man Utd Star Paul Pogba to Sack Agent Mino Raiola," 27 June 2018 The government's annual Trustees Reports on the programs shows the financial condition of both worsening significantly since last year. CBS News, "How worried should you be about Medicare and Social Security lasting?," 9 June 2018 On average for everyone in the study blood pressure levels and blood glucose levels — both indicators of worsening heart health — increased during the recession. Sarah Digiulio /, NBC News, "How to stop stressing over money so it doesn't hurt your health," 31 May 2018 The catch is that science hasn’t yet pinpointed these kinds of processes as being explicitly related to worsening hangovers with age. Claire Gillespie, SELF, "This Is Why It Seems Like Your Hangovers Are Getting Worse With Age," 27 May 2018

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

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

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Dictionary Entries near worsen






worse off


Statistics for worsen

Last Updated

2 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for worsen

The first known use of worsen was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for worsen



English Language Learners Definition of worsen

: to make (something) worse or to become worse


wors·​en | \ ˈwər-sᵊn How to pronounce worsen (audio) \
worsened; worsening

Kids Definition of worsen

: to get worse His fever is worsening.

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More from Merriam-Webster on worsen

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with worsen

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for worsen

Spanish Central: Translation of worsen

Nglish: Translation of worsen for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of worsen for Arabic Speakers

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