To write or perform (a play, scene, character, etc.) in a tragic style or manner; to treat or dramatize in tragic form. Also (now chiefly): to treat (a situation, event, etc.) as a tragedy; to make (something) appear tragic, especially by exaggerating its negative aspects.
Late 16th century; earliest use found in Thomas Nashe (d. c1601), writer. From tragedy + -ize.