V2 Vocabulary Building Dictionary



Definition: to make more violent, bitter, or severe--to make worse

Synonyms: compound, aggravate, heighten, intensify, vex, worsen, irritate

Antonyms: appease, assuage, calm, ease, mitigate, mollify, pacify, placate

Tips: To exacerbate a situation is to worsen or irritate it. The word exacerbate is usually used differently than the word exasperate, although they are commonly listed as synonyms. People usually feel exasperated (frustrated, annoyed) and their problems can be exacerbated (made worse). Remember, exasperated has "per," so think of a person being annoyed or exasperated and an ulcer, "cer," being made worse or exacerbated by stress.

Usage Examples:

Please try to keep down the noise; itís exacerbating my headache. (aggravating, intensifying)

Some people feel that higher divorce rates will exacerbate teenage behavioral problems. (aggravate, intensify)

You should probably leave him alone for a while; youíll only exacerbate his anger if you try to talk to him now. (aggravate)

Stress can exacerbate your ulcer, so try to relax and take it easy. (worsen, irritate)

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