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 The New York City medical examiner said Monday that Ocasek died of heart disease, worsened by emphysema. CBS News, "Wife recounts finding Ric Ocasek after he died: "I touched his cheek"," 17 Sep. 2019 The red tides, in turn, are worsened by climate change, scientists say. Chris Mooney, Anchorage Daily News, "Large parts of the globe have already passed a crucial climate threshold," 11 Sep. 2019 The storm’s effects are worsened by the fact that Florida’s King Tides—highest of high tides—are at their peak this week, reports CNN’s A.J. Willingham. Rachael Lallensack, Smithsonian, "Hurricane Dorian Batters the Bahamas Before Barreling Along the U.S. Coast," 4 Sep. 2019 Older people are dying prematurely, their conditions worsened by isolation and depression, experts say. Stephen Castle, New York Times, "Shortchanged: Why British Life Expectancy Is Falling," 30 Aug. 2019 The territory has spent a decade trapped by financial and economic troubles—worsened by the effect of Hurricane Maria, in 2017. A.r. | Chicago, The Economist, "The resignation of Ricardo Rosselló," 25 July 2019 China’s auto market is suffering in the face of a sluggish economy, worsened by a trade spat with the US. Echo Huang, Quartz, "China’s electric vehicle sales are now declining by double digits," 11 Sep. 2019 But the illness can present more severe symptoms, too, like anorexia and chest pain, that worsen in the days leading up to hospitalization, health officials said. Scottie Andrew, CNN, "City of Milwaukee urges everyone who lives there to stop vaping immediately," 29 Aug. 2019 Prices topping $100 a barrel in 2014 went into a free-fall that worsened a budget deficit now in its eighth year. Becky Bohrer, Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska’s oil money headaches: ‘We did this to ourselves’," 9 Aug. 2019

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

26 Oct 2019

Cite this Entry

“Worsen.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/worsened. Accessed 21 November 2019.

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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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