[ ig-zas-er-beyt, ek-sas- ]
See synonyms for: exacerbateexacerbatesexacerbatingexacerbation on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object),ex·ac·er·bat·ed, ex·ac·er·bat·ing.
  1. to increase the severity, bitterness, or violence of (disease, ill feeling, etc.); aggravate.

  2. to embitter the feelings of (a person); irritate; exasperate.

Origin of exacerbate

First recorded in 1650–60; from Latin exacerbātus (past participle of exacerbāre “to exasperate, provoke”), equivalent to ex- ex-1 + acerbātus acerbate

Other words for exacerbate

Opposites for exacerbate

Other words from exacerbate

  • ex·ac·er·bat·ing·ly, adverb
  • ex·ac·er·ba·tion [ig-zas-er-bey-shuhn, ek-sas-], /ɪgˌzæs ərˈbeɪ ʃən, ɛkˌsæs-/, noun
  • un·ex·ac·er·bat·ing, adjective

Words that may be confused with exacerbate

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use exacerbate in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for exacerbate


/ (ɪɡˈzæsəˌbeɪt, ɪkˈsæs-) /

  1. to make (pain, disease, emotion, etc) more intense; aggravate

  2. to exasperate or irritate (a person)

Origin of exacerbate

C17: from Latin exacerbāre to irritate, from acerbus bitter

Derived forms of exacerbate

  • exacerbation, noun

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