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

But a steep run-up in deductibles, which have more than tripled in the last decade, has worsened inequality, fueling anger and resentment and adding to the country’s unsettled politics, a Los Angeles Times analysis shows. Los Angeles Times, "Rising health insurance deductibles fuel middle-class anger and resentment," 17 July 2019 Kate McFall, Florida director for the Humane Society of the United States, says the state’s failure to ban the iguana trade allows the problem to worsen out of deference to the pet industry. David Fleshler, sun-sentinel.com, "Florida refuses to ban iguana sales, despite calling on landowners to kill them," 12 July 2019 As permafrost warms up and begins to thaw out, microbes in the soil may release large quantities of both climate-warming carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere, potentially worsening the effects of climate change. Chelsea Harvey, Scientific American, "Small Temperature Bumps Can Cause Big Arctic Methane Burps," 10 July 2019 The child was given medication but her condition worsened. Bill Lambrecht, ExpressNews.com, "House opens inquiry into treatment of children at migrant detention facilities," 10 July 2019 Over the ensuing decades, however, the legislative branch began to cede more and more power to the executive after a trade war sparked by protectionist tariffs worsened the Great Depression. William Hauk, The Conversation, "How Congress lost power over trade deals – and why some lawmakers want it back," 9 July 2019 Rather than seeing an improvement in their condition, all three women showed up at eye hospitals days later with retinas detaching, rapidly worsening vision and hemorrhaging. NBC News, "FDA wins case against Florida stem cell clinic that harmed three women's vision," 4 June 2019 In the absence of war, worsening trade tensions or other surprises, the second half of 2019 could remain favorable, especially with interest rates and inflation under control. Russ Wiles, azcentral, "What's ahead: 5 money topics to watch for the rest of 2019," 7 Jan. 2019 Stocks dropped on Wednesday as investors remained concerned about worsening trade relations between the U.S. and China. Paul Wiseman, USA TODAY, "Record exports cut US trade deficit to $49 billion," 3 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

20 Jul 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

Comments on worsen

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an act or instance of editing or removing

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