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exacerbate Syllabification: ex·ac·er·bate
Pronunciation: /iɡˈzasərˌbāt/

Definition of exacerbate in English:


[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
More example sentences
  • Rising energy costs, which are a result of a growing scarcity, as well as inflation, are exacerbating the situation.
  • Pilots, unhappy at the increased expectations placed on them, are exacerbating the situation by striking for improved pay and conditions.
  • These issues were all being felt in our local communities, with the last three years of public housing reforms only exacerbating the situation.
intensify, increase, heighten, magnify, add to, amplify, augment
informal add fuel to the fire/flames


On the difference between exacerbate and exasperate, see exasperate (usage).


Pronunciation: /iɡˌzasərˈbāSHən/ /eɡˌzasərˈbāSHən/
Example sentences
  • It is possible to misinterpret worsening of symptoms as an exacerbation of multiple sclerosis.
  • Asthma exacerbations increase morbidity and mortality in patients, decrease their quality of life, and increase the cost of treatment.
  • Additionally, asthma exacerbations are reduced to levels that are arguably as low as might be expected.


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'.

Definition of exacerbate in:
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