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

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 However, former Federal Reserve economist Claudia Sahm argues that there is an important technical reason why Fed policy may unwittingly worsen the economic gap between the races. Bruce Bartlett, The New Republic, "Washington’s Inflation Hysteria Is Fueled by Corporate Greed," 14 Apr. 2021 Scientists have grown increasingly concerned that new coronavirus variants may worsen the pandemic. Kai Kupferschmidt, Science | AAAS, "Vaccine 2.0: Moderna and other companies plan tweaks that would protect against new coronavirus mutations," 26 Jan. 2021 Inside the White House, the immigration issue has caused deep anxiety as Biden's advisers worry the situation could worsen over the coming months, potentially torpedoing legislative momentum. Kevin Liptak, CNN, "Kamala Harris cements her place in Biden's inner circle during a consequential week," 25 Apr. 2021 Espinoza encouraged people to seek medical attention when their symptoms worsen, rather than trying to cope with difficulty breathing or walking on their own at home. Lauren Caruba, San Antonio Express-News, "More than 1 million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in San Antonio," 19 Apr. 2021 The construction work left a wide strip of denuded lands, which Pérez and others fear could worsen erosion. azcentral, "Trump's border wall scarred sacred lands, displaced wildlife and drained water. Can it be taken down?," 15 Apr. 2021 Many Afghans fear the chaos will worsen even more once America leaves. BostonGlobe.com, "Blinken in Afghanistan to sell Biden troop withdrawal," 15 Apr. 2021 The wildlife advocates also fear that water quality in the park could worsen if federal officials expand cattle grazing lands. Susanne Rust Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Scores of tule elk died at Point Reyes seashore in 2020. Are their days numbered?," 14 Apr. 2021 The United States is grappling with a dramatic spike in infections, and health officials fear that holiday travel could dramatically worsen the current situation. Washington Post, "Live updates: Health officials renew pleas to stay home over Thanksgiving as millions flock to airports," 23 Nov. 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

13 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Worsen.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/worsen. Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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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.

Comments on worsen

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