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 Anecdotal evidence suggests that wearing lotion or sunscreen can worsen the effects of tear gas and pepper spray, and some scientists back up this claim. Karen Kwon, Scientific American, "How to Protect Yourself during Protests," 26 June 2020 Multiple sclerosis symptoms can worsen when your temperature rises, making body temperature regulation crucial to people who live with the condition. Maggie O'neill, Health.com, "7 Cooling Neck Wraps to Help You Regulate Your Body Temperature," 19 June 2020 The coronavirus’s impact on health could worsen and area residents’ spending habits could change, leading to less sales tax revenue. Obed Manuel, Dallas News, "Tough budget talks ahead for Dallas officials as calls to defund police grow louder," 18 June 2020 To help plug the hole, Breed ordered every city department to reduce its budget for the upcoming fiscal year by 10% — with an extra 5% identified if the economy continues to worsen. Trisha Thadani, SFChronicle.com, "Amid $1.7 billion city deficit, SF health department may face ‘hard choices’," 17 June 2020 The Trump-Merkel relationship seems to worsen by the day. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, "Global markets soar as investors figure the Fed’s got their backs," 16 June 2020 Coastal flooding is expected to worsen for the north part of the bay. Leigh Morgan, al, "Strong storms, more heavy rain possible in Alabama today thanks to Cristobal," 8 June 2020 But two recent developments serve both to worsen the tensions between protesters and their opponents and to decrease the chance that the government will find a solution: political polarisation and partisan rage. The Economist, "Anger and politics The violence in American cities reflects the fury of polarisation," 2 June 2020 Other critics say the plan would worsen the city’s housing shortage by creating thousands of new jobs but not much in the way of housing. J.k. Dineen, SFChronicle.com, "UCSF hospital revamp plan creates ill will in the neighborhood," 14 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for worsen

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for worsen

Last Updated

29 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Worsen.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/worsen. Accessed 6 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for worsen


How to pronounce worsen (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for worsen

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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