Definition of exacerbate in US English:

exacerbate

verb

[with object]
  • Make (a problem, bad situation, or negative feeling) worse.

    ‘the exorbitant cost of land in urban areas only exacerbated the problem’
    ‘the forest fire was exacerbated by the lack of rain’
    • ‘The premature closure of Fairhaven Road and problems caused by access from Frenches Road to Linkfield Lane exacerbates the situation.’
    • ‘Vicky, Alex's wealthy sister, exacerbates the situation by offering Neil money.’
    • ‘Vehicles driving through the floodwaters were causing waves, exacerbating problems for households already flooded.’
    • ‘Pilots, unhappy at the increased expectations placed on them, are exacerbating the situation by striking for improved pay and conditions.’
    • ‘The Dartford Tunnel is a bottleneck and removing the tolls would encourage more people to use it, thereby exacerbating the situation.’
    • ‘The child's detachment exacerbates the parents' feeling of helplessness.’
    • ‘Part of the problem lies in the fact that we are buying much more powerful stereos and televisions today, but other fashion trends are exacerbating the problem.’
    • ‘She believes that processed food, particularly ready meals, are exacerbating the problem.’
    • ‘I find that if I walk fast, it exacerbates the situation and the urge to pee right there on the sidewalk gets stronger.’
    • ‘And if you extend its availability you are merely exacerbating the problem.’
    • ‘So what they do is take the driving test and then they fail, and it simply exacerbates the situation.’
    • ‘Significant reductions in the number of primary school pupils are in some cases exacerbating financial problems.’
    • ‘At least the government is trying to find an actual solution, rather than exacerbating the problem.’
    • ‘Along comes a referee intent on making peace but instead of getting both sides to kiss and make up the peacemaker only exacerbates the situation.’
    • ‘These issues were all being felt in our local communities, with the last three years of public housing reforms only exacerbating the situation.’
    • ‘The apparently untreated road was progressively freezing-over, exacerbating the problem.’
    • ‘Rising energy costs, which are a result of a growing scarcity, as well as inflation, are exacerbating the situation.’
    • ‘He also criticised the city's universities for exacerbating the situation.’
    • ‘That strains that whole relationship, probably exacerbates the situation.’
    • ‘How can the war continue, they ask, if it's exacerbating the problem it was meant to solve?’
    aggravate, make worse, worsen, inflame, compound
    View synonyms

Usage

On the difference between exacerbate and exasperate, see exasperate

Origin

Mid 17th century: from Latin exacerbat- ‘made harsh’, from the verb exacerbare, from ex- (expressing inducement of a state) + acerbus ‘harsh, bitter’. The noun exacerbation ( late Middle English) originally meant ‘provocation to anger’.

Pronunciation

exacerbate

/iɡˈzasərˌbāt//ɪɡˈzæsərˌbeɪt/