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From Latin exacerbo (to provoke); ex (out of; thoroughly) + acerbo (to embitter, harshen or worsen).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ɪɡˈzæsəˌbeɪt/, /ɪkˈsæs-/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ɪɡˈzæsɚˌbeɪt/
  • (file)


exacerbate (third-person singular simple present exacerbates, present participle exacerbating, simple past and past participle exacerbated)

  1. (transitive) To make worse (a problem, bad situation, negative feeling, etc.); aggravate.
    The proposed shutdown would exacerbate unemployment problems.
    • 2013, Louise Taylor, English talent gets left behind as Premier League keeps importing (in The Guardian, 20 August 2013)[1]
      The reasons for this growing disconnect are myriad and complex but the situation is exacerbated by the reality that those English players who do smash through our game's "glass ceiling" command radically inflated transfer fees.

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The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

See alsoEdit


  • exacerbate” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2019.