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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.
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 exacerbating
  • Beyond that there is little agreement, particularly about whether human activity might be exacerbating their effects.
  • Our journalists should be shaping and commenting upon the debate, not simply mirroring and exacerbating it.
  • exacerbating this situation is the fact that even the graduates may have gotten through high school without learning anything.
  • Perhaps they'll choose to solve the world's problems instead of exacerbating them.
  • Waxes in the oil can also solidify, exacerbating the problem.
  • Furthermore, foreign food aid itself--while life-saving--risks exacerbating the underlying problem.
  • The move comes as climatic changes are exacerbating threats to forests in the region.
  • So basically it is exacerbating an already bad situation.
  • Microbial activity could end up exacerbating waters with little oxygen--as could the coating of oil.
  • Simply providing aid in crisis, without addressing the fundamentals underlying such crisis, is actually exacerbating the problem.
British Dictionary definitions for exacerbating


/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 exacerbating



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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