WOW Word-Of-the-Week #338: Exacerbate

January 28, 2011 by  

Exacerbate – to increase the severity, violence, or bitterness of; aggravate.

When was the last time you were in a situation that went from bad to worse? What was it that exacerbated the situation?

This is the follow up to last week’s WOW and more of the problems the severe weather caused Holiday travelers around the world. An AP article from Paris titled, “SNOW, ICE TRAP MORE PASSENGERS IN EUROPE’S AIRPORTS – Exceptionally wintry weather causes sweeping shutdowns” reads, “New snowfall and shortages of de-icing fluid trapped passengers and snarled travel across Europe.”

“Cities such as London and Paris, not as accustomed to flying planes in below-freezing temperatures, buckled under the snow. To try to ease the pain of a Christmas under the glaring lights of an airport terminal, Paris’ airport authority planned on handing out gifts to children force to sleep there. The airport also got an early Christmas gift flown in from the US – two shipments of precious de-icing fluid to get planes off the snowy ground.”

“France’s famed strikes played a role in travel troubles too. A walkout at a French factory involved in the production of de-icing fluid exacerbated shortages, forcing France to import the fluid.”

I believe we are so lucky to live in the US! When we stopped in Paris, on our way home from Africa, the city was having a general strike, again. It took us almost two hours and cost $120 for a cab to our hotel. OUCH! Then we found that most of the sites were closed as a result of it. Can you imagine what it would be like to have all of our monuments, museums, tourist attractions, and public transportation closed due to a strike? Maybe that’s next week’s word?

Reader Responses

“Now, exacerbate is a word that I have used a great deal in my personal and professional lives. I have been in situations where another person’s incompetence or stubbornness made things a lot worse. It is hard to deal with because it is something out of our control. When people refuse to change an attitude or way of doing things it makes it difficult for everyone else affected. Saying no or not compromising does not help alleviate the situation. We have seen this especially in Washington, DC, where the new Speaker of the House and his cohorts have insisted that there will be no compromise. They will say no to plans that could help alleviate the unemployment problem in America. As a result, the problem becomes worse – it is exacerbated. Another problem area that has been exacerbated is global warming. We have people in Congress who insist that global warming does not exist or it is a hoax. All while the polar icecaps continue to melt, slowly increasing the sea levels all around the world. This is happening right in front of our eyes, and yet even educated people deny it. Within 30 years the Maldive Islands and Bangladesh will be underwater. How long before the US coastlines start to go under? Thank you for the word. It is a good one. Take care.” – “Warrior” Joe


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