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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.
Origin of exacerbate
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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for exacerbated
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Romance as an actual experience became more difficult of attainment and this was exacerbated by standard views of marriage.

  • The disposition, of course, was there; it should have been modified, not exacerbated.

    Expository Writing Mervin James Curl
  • The effects of increasing vessel traffic apparently are exacerbated by the narrow physical confines of Glacier Bay.

    Humpback Whales in Glacier Bay National Monument, Alaska United States Department of Commerce, Marine Mammal Commission
  • Accordingly, he has met with some exacerbated decriers, and with very few thorough-going defenders.

    The English Novel George Saintsbury
  • This historical, 80 year-old rift was exacerbated by the abyss between the Enver Hoxha regime and its Tito counterpart.

    After the Rain Sam Vaknin
British Dictionary definitions for exacerbated


/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 exacerbated



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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