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 Alaska’s Energy Desk reports that the study results issued last month found the environmental hazards continue to worsen due to climate change. USA TODAY, "Liberty State Park, Christmas Tree Lane, time capsule: News from around our 50 states," 3 Dec. 2019 Clarke's condition worsened throughout the evening and he was pronounced dead later that night. al, "Montgomery man arrested in fatal stabbing," 23 Nov. 2019 Air quality in Visakhapatnam—also on the east coast—worsened quite suddenly in the first few days of November. Vijayta Lalwani, Quartz India, "Did Delhi’s deadly smog just move 3,000 km to the south?," 19 Nov. 2019 His muted response to the rising ethnic violence is worsening peace and security. Yohannes Gedamu, Quartz Africa, "Ethiopians are losing faith in prime minister Abiy’s promises for peace," 16 Nov. 2019 Still, the patient continued to worsen and his doctors at CHM sought to get him a lung transplant. Ashley Boucher, PEOPLE.com, "Surgeon Shocked After Doing Double Lung Transplant on Teen Vaper: 'Evil I Haven't Faced Before'," 12 Nov. 2019 Still, in recent years, the fires have worsened beyond nature's will, exacerbated by human activity. Chelsey Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, "Here's How You Can Help People Affected by California's Wildfires," 1 Nov. 2019 Such a leadership approach can worsen the sense of isolation that naturally comes with working remotely and can contribute to virtual workplace stress. Stephanie Russell, Quartz at Work, "Remote working is a great perk—but only if you do it right," 24 Oct. 2019 Not long after the fall of Aachen, the Allies’ military situation worsened. Greg Miller, Smithsonian, "The Untold Story of the Secret Mission to Seize Nazi Map Data," 23 Oct. 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

7 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Worsen.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/worsening. Accessed 14 December 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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