aggrandize

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /əˈɡɹændaɪ̯z/

Etymology[edit]

From French agrandir.

Verb[edit]

aggrandize (third-person singular simple present aggrandizes, present participle aggrandizing, simple past and past participle aggrandized)

  1. (transitive) To make great; to enlarge; to increase.
    to aggrandize one's authority, distress
    • 1624, Richard Montagu, Immediate Addresse vnto God Alone, London: Matthew Lownes and William Barret, p. 19,[1]
      [They] doe adde vnto the bitternesse of that Day, and agrandise the heauie weight of trouble.
    • 1741, Isaac Watts, The Improvement of the Mind, London: James Brackstone, Chapter 20, p. 355,[2]
      In Heroic Verse, but especially in the grander Lyrics, there are sometimes such noble Elevations of Thought and Passion as illuminate all Things around us, and convey to the Soul most exalted and magnificent Images and sublime Sentiments: These furnish us with glorious Springs and Mediums to raise and aggrandize our Conceptions []
    • 1789, William Gilpin, Observations, relative chiefly to picturesque beauty, made in the year 1776, on several parts of Great Britain; particularly the High-lands of Scotland, London: R. Blamire, Volume 2, “Account of the Prints,” p. ii,[3]
      [] on so small a scale, it would be impossible to give an adequate idea of a grand scene. [] Were it painted indeed with exactness on a pane of glass in a window, and the eye brought to it, under the deception of it’s being a real view; the imagination might aggrandize it.
    • 1970, Benjamin I. Schwartz, Communism in China: Ideology in Flux, New York: Atheneum, p. 10,[4]
      [] the relations of ideas to power may assume infinite variations. The tendency may be to aggrandize power at all cost, to aggrandize power but to calculate soberly the risks involved, to conserve existing power, or even to yield power.
  2. (transitive) To make great or greater in power, rank, honor, or wealth (applied to persons, countries, etc.).
    • 1635, David Person, Varieties, London: Thomas Alchorn, “To the Right Honovrable Thomas Earle of Hadington,”[5]
      [] the aggrandizing of your estate by well managed fortune [] may well set out your praises to the world []
    • 1759, David Hume, The History of England: Under the House of Tudor, London: A. Millar, Volume 1, Chapter 4, p. 165,[6]
      [] under pretence of securing the purity of religion, he had laid a scheme of aggrandizing his own family, by extending its dominions over all Germany.
    • 1815, Jane Austen, Emma, Volume 1, Chapter 16,[7]
      He only wanted to aggrandise and enrich himself; and if Miss Woodhouse of Hartfield, the heiress of thirty thousand pounds, were not quite so easily obtained as he had fancied, he would soon try for Miss Somebody else with twenty, or with ten.
    • 1855, William H. Prescott, History of the Reign of Philip the Second, King of Spain, Boston: Phillips, Sampson, Volume 1, Book 1, Chapter 2, p. 69,[8]
      [] he seems never to have revived his schemes for aggrandizing his son by securing to him the succession to the empire.
  3. (transitive) To make appear great or greater; to exalt.
    • 1750, Samuel Johnson, The Rambler, No. 56, 29 September, 1750, in The Rambler, London: J. Payne & J. Bouquet, 1752, Volume 2, p. 179,[9]
      [] they contrive to make all approaches to them difficult and vexatious, and imagine that they aggrandize themselves by wasting the time of others in useless attendance, by mortifying them with slights, and teazing them with affronts.
    • 1833, Charles Lamb, Essays of Elia, “Popular Fallacies” in The Works of Charles Lamb, New York: Harper, Volume 2, p. 302,[10]
      The first thing to aggrandize a man in his own conceit, is to conceive of himself as neglected.
    • 1881, Mark Twain, “Plymouth Rock and the Pilgrims,” address at the first annual dinner, N.E. Society, Philadelphia, 22 December, 1881, in Mark Twain’s Speeches, New York: Harper, 1910, p. 18,[11]
      Why, to be celebrating the mere landing of the Pilgrims—to be trying to make out that this most natural and simple and customary procedure was an extraordinary circumstance—a circumstance to be amazed at, and admired, aggrandized and glorified, at orgies like this for two hundred and sixty years—hang it, a horse would have known enough to land; a horse []
    • 2015, “Sandy Hook committee to propose ban on guns that fire more than 10 rounds,” The Guardian, 16 January, 2015,[12]
      They noted the use of [the gunman’s] name is hurtful to the victims’ families and using it could assist anyone who might want to aggrandize his actions.
  4. (intransitive, rare) To increase or become great.
    • 1946, Office of United States Chief of Counsel for Prosecution of Axis Criminality, Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, Volume 2, Washington: United States Government Printing Office, p. 317,[13]
      The generals, like Hitler, wanted Germany to aggrandize at the expense of neighboring countries, and to do so if necessary by force or threat of force.

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