A word meaning "Making something even worse" ?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by shiness, Sep 1, 2006.

  1. shiness Senior Member

    Korean, South Korea.

    I'm trying to archieve a collection of verbs indicating "making / prompting
    something even worse" such as compound (I know more but ATM, I don't remind myself of those) as I'm beginning to find there are tons of those words in frequent use in english today. :)

  2. TrentinaNE

    TrentinaNE Senior Member

    English (American)
    Hi, shiness. I'm not sure that compound means to "make something worse" unless one specifically refers to "compounding the problem." The second verb definition here might give you some other ideas.
  3. I don't know if that's what you mean:
    deteriorate, decline, degenerate, descend, disimprove, disintegrate, retrogade, rot, sink, get worse, grow worse.
  4. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
  5. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Yes, "exacerbate" was the first word that occurred to me.

    Also, "aggravate" - even though colloquially its meaning has become synonymous with "irritate." :eek:

    Majlo, the words you suggest mean "to get worse" and not "to make something worse."
  6. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    "Exacerbate" is absolutely the best choice that I can imagine. In certain contexts, I believe "worsen" will work. It sounds a little weak next to "exacerbate", but I thought I'd offer it as another option.
  7. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    "Aggravate" sounds better than "exacerbate" to me to describe an illness.
  8. foxfirebrand

    foxfirebrand Senior Member

    The Northern Rockies
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    In case three people aren't enough to convince you (and three of the best), the word you want is exacerbate.
  9. DavyBCN Senior Member

    UK - English
    Longmans Dictionary of Contemporary English -

    to worsen [intransitive and transitive]-to become worse or make something worse:)

    A lot of teachers expect the situation to worsen over the next few years.
    Interfering now could worsen the problem.

    Not my favourite verb as it sounds odd in most contexts. I also vote for exacerbate.
  10. Sedgeman New Member

    I've always liked to use "catastrophizing" as my favorite portmanteau for this situation.
  11. SoLaTiDoberman

    SoLaTiDoberman Senior Member

    "To add insult to injury", though it is not a word, but an idiom.

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