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[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.
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Examples from the web for worsened
  • People who are ill or have conditions that could be worsened by fasting are specifically exempted from taking part.
  • The whole department pointed invisible daggers at me, and the situation worsened.
  • And as devices have gotten smaller in size but richer in features, things have only worsened.
  • Their performance progressively worsened throughout the day.
  • Over the next five to seven days, the bird's neurological symptoms progressively worsened.
  • Her pain had worsened, and it was now accompanied by shortness of breath and severe abdominal cramping.
  • Conditions have also been worsened by persistent rain, but soldiers on foot reached the epicenter of the quake earlier today.
  • The spread of mobile phones has only worsened telephone gridlock.
  • They found that the two patients improved when the stimulator was turned on and worsened when it was turned off.
  • Later in life, as his eyesight worsened, he invented bifocals.
British Dictionary definitions for worsened


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
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Word Origin and History for worsened



"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
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