"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[wur-suh n] /ˈwɜr sən/
verb (used with object), verb (used without object)
to make or become worse.
Origin of worsen
1175-1225; Middle English worsenen. See worse, -en1
Can be confused
aggravate, annoy, intensify, irritate, worsen (see synonym study at aggravate)
decline, deteriorate, slip, sink. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for worsen
  • But because underwater trees are already dead, cutting them down doesn't worsen the situation.
  • The trend is likely to worsen as water temperatures continue to rise, the scientists say.
  • Others said the solar array might worsen a water runoff problem in the area.
  • Unscientific comments only worsen consumer anxiety and add to news media hype.
  • The tendency of the effects of bullying to worsen when left untreated underscores the need for early intervention as well.
  • Critics say they are little more than a tax on long-term investors and can even worsen market swings.
  • But buyouts, which turn active workers into pensioners, only worsen the company's dependency ratio.
  • Since the election, as the economy continued to worsen, the consensus among economists kept rising.
  • Poor diet affects their health and may worsen medical conditions.
  • US consumers are undergoing their own debt workout, one that might even worsen if joblessness continues to rise.
British Dictionary definitions for worsen


to grow or cause to grow worse
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for worsen

"to make worse," Old English wyrsian, from the root of worse. The reflexive sense of "to get worse, become worse off" first attested 1795 and elevated into literary use c.1800-30, where formerly worse (v.) had served. Related: Worsened; worsening.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for worsen

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for worsen

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for worsen