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[ig-zas-er-beyt, ek-sas-] /ɪgˈzæs ərˌbeɪt, ɛkˈsæs-/
verb (used with object), exacerbated, exacerbating.
to increase the severity, bitterness, or violence of (disease, ill feeling, etc.); aggravate.
to embitter the feelings of (a person); irritate; exasperate.
Origin of exacerbate
1650-60; < Latin exacerbātus (past participle of exacerbāre to exasperate, provoke), equivalent to ex- ex-1 + acerbātus acerbate
Related forms
exacerbatingly, adverb
exacerbation, noun
unexacerbated, adjective
unexacerbating, adjective
Can be confused
exacerbate, exasperate.
1. intensify, inflame, worsen.
1. relieve, soothe, alleviate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for exacerbated
  • Their eccentricities have been exacerbated by the passing of years.
  • The country's problems, it says, are exacerbated by persistent deflation and a rapidly aging population.
  • Dry conditions were exacerbated by above-normal temperatures this spring that led to an early, rapid snowmelt.
  • Sam has respiratory problems exacerbated by dust, dirt, secondhand smoke and dander from seven house cats.
  • They had trouble maintaining concentration, and financial pressures sometimes exacerbated their problems.
  • Both sides said the issue was exacerbated by social media.
  • The sound is exacerbated by the fact that stairwells tend to create echoes.
  • Rising inflation and a falling dollar have also exacerbated the rise in prices.
  • The authorities say that deforestation exacerbated the latest destruction.
  • The structural vulnerabilities have been exacerbated by recent flooding.
British Dictionary definitions for exacerbated


/ɪɡˈzæsəˌbeɪt; ɪkˈsæs-/
verb (transitive)
to make (pain, disease, emotion, etc) more intense; aggravate
to exasperate or irritate (a person)
Derived Forms
exacerbation, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin exacerbāre to irritate, from acerbus bitter
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for exacerbated



1650s, a back-formation from exacerbation or else from Latin exacerbatus, past participle of exacerbare (see exacerbation). Related: Exacerbated; exacerbating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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