Printable Version
Pronunciation: ê-græn-daiz Hear it!

Part of Speech: Verb, transitive

Meaning: To extend, increase the scope of, magnitude, or importance of.

Notes: Today's Good Word has become completely assimilated to English. Its present participle may be used as an adjective, aggrandizing, and the noun is aggrandizement. There is also a passive adjective, aggrandizable. Self-aggrandizement is the practice of exaggerating one's own importance; the adjective corresponding to this word is self-aggrandizing.

In Play: When one country acquires the territory of another by conquest, that is aggrandizement: "Colonialism was the territorial aggrandizement of regions around the world by the Europeans." But aggrandizement occurs around the office, too: "I aggrandized my reputation in the company by nicking the more luxurious pieces of furniture from the offices of others while they were away on business."

Word History: Today's Good Word comes to us directly from Middle French aggrandir, aggrandiss- "to extend, widen, expand", comprising ag- (= ad-) "(on)to" + grandire "to enlarge". French inherited grandire from Latin. The Latin word was built on grandis "big, great, strong". Grandis supplanted magnus "big, large" in all the Romance languages: in French grand, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish grande—all mean "big". Grandis shares the same source as Greek brenthyomai "to puff up, be haughty". In the Slavic languages it took a grander turn. In Russian today it is grud' "breast" (from the original grond). Czech hrouda and Slovak hruda both mean "clod, chunk, lump". (Today's Good Word was reported by unself-aggrandizing Klimt, the mysterious regular in the Alpha Agora.)

Dr. Goodword,

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