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[wur-suh n] /ˈwɜr sən/
verb (used with object), verb (used without object)
to make or become worse.
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. 2014.
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Examples for worsening
  • It's a huge topic in this arid country of mostly desert land, dying river systems, and frequent and worsening droughts.
  • But it's clear that authorities are being disingenuous when they claim that casualty data are worsening.
  • In other words, destroying nuclear facilities would address the symptoms while worsening the underlying disease.
  • The area's worsening demographics have made it less interesting to investors and even the national government.
  • What is worsening is the discrepancy in income between the wealthy and the poor.
  • It usually begins in the fall, with symptoms worsening during the winter months and improving in the spring and summer.
  • Because tax increases and cuts in government spending would depress economies further, worsening unemployment.
  • But whatever relief the staff felt was more than countered by the magazine's worsening financial crisis.
  • But it's also helped usher in an era of ever worsening floods that keep testing its defenses.
  • Raising interest rates runs the risk of worsening unemployment.
British Dictionary definitions for worsening


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 worsening



"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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