wors·en | \ˈwər-sᵊn \
worsened; worsening\ˈwərs-niŋ, 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

By the end of the summer, Millville’s deficit could worsen. Laura Crimaldi, BostonGlobe.com, "Welcome to Millville, where budget fight means dark streets, no trash pickup, and a growing deficit," 11 July 2018 The attack on the Skripals worsened the already tense relations between Russia and the West, prompting the expulsion of Russian diplomats and embassy workers from several countries and retaliatory expulsions by Moscow. New York Times, "Britain Suggests Russia Is Behind Latest Nerve Agent Case," 9 July 2018 Ozone can worsen asthma and cause shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, headaches and nausea. Brieanna J Frank, azcentral, "Heat, air-quality warnings in effect Monday as Phoenix temps approach 110," 3 June 2018 But since then, as climate science has evolved and atmospheric conditions worsened, projections for sea rise have dramatically increased. Jenny Staletovich, miamiherald, "FPL wants to keep old reactors running. New sea-rise studies could stand in the way," 1 June 2018 The couple’s heroin use worsened soon after their son, Tara Gabriel Galaxy Gramophone Getty (yep), was born in May of 1968. refinery29.com, "How Talitha Pol, The Dutch It-Girl Who Married Paul Getty Jr., Became An Enduring Icon Of The 1960s," 7 May 2018 Those recovery efforts were suspended in 2005, when the relationship between the two nations worsened over the North’s nuclear weapons program and the Pentagon became concerned about the safety of its search teams. New York Times, "North Koreans Are No-Shows at Meeting to Discuss U.S. Soldiers’ Remains," 12 July 2018 The company’s money problems appear to have only worsened in the intervening period. Marc Daalder, Detroit Free Press, "Sears to close store in Troy's Oakland Mall," 2 July 2018 Like the slow drip of a leaky faucet, the quality of competition continues to worsen every year. Pat Disabato, Daily Southtown, "Disabato: As travel schedules continue to expand, high school baseball teams feeling the summer squeeze," 13 July 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

28 Sep 2018

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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 \
worsened; worsening

Kids Definition of worsen

: to get worse His fever is worsening.

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