I'm thinking of a situation, wherein instead of helping someone's cause the helper rather doubly complicates the problem by giving an uneasy solution to it. For example, I'm assuming a person who doesn't know the meaning of the word sorry, he's tried to be helped with the synonym apologetic, of which he has no clue either, now his problem is twofold and his cause hasn't been helped but rather complicated.


3 Answers 3


To exacerbate:

  • Make (a problem, bad situation, or negative feeling) worse.
  • The police intervention to calm the crowd unluckily exacerbated the situation and new episodes of violence took place.
  • @Andy Semyonov Obfuscate might be the term you were looking for, but this is the answer to the question as worded.
    – Mazura
    Mar 8, 2015 at 1:08

Try compound. According to NOAD, it means:

make (something bad) worse; intensify the negative aspects of : I compounded the problem by trying to make wrong things right.

That fits your context:

What does the word sorry mean?
It means "apologetic".
Egads! I don't know what apologetic means; you've only compounded my problem.

  • I like that term. It never crossed my mind that what I was looking for could be as simple as that. Mar 8, 2015 at 8:00



  1. make (a problem, injury, or offense) worse or more serious. "military action would only aggravate the situation"
  2. informal annoy or exasperate (someone), especially persistently. "the gesture aggravated me even more"

From OED http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/aggravate

He was not a native English speaker, so when he found apologetic as the definition for sorry in the dictionary this only aggravated his situation, which in turn aggravated him.

  • 1
    Obfuscate was the term I was looking for. Thanks for your answer by the way. Mar 7, 2015 at 21:30

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