Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

lessen

play
verb less·en \ˈle-sən\

Simple Definition of lessen

  • : to become less or to cause (something) to become less

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of lessen

lessenedlessening play \ˈles-niŋ, ˈle-sən-iŋ\

  1. intransitive verb
  2. :  to shrink in size, number, or degree :  decrease

  3. transitive verb
  4. 1 :  to reduce in size, extent, or degree

  5. 2 a archaic :  to represent as of little value b :  to lower in status or dignity :  degrade

Examples of lessen in a sentence

  1. Medication helps lessen the severity of the symptoms.

  2. <we lessened our efforts as it became clear they weren't having an effect>



13th Century

First Known Use of lessen

13th century

Synonym Discussion of lessen

decrease, lessen, diminish, reduce, abate, dwindle mean to grow or make less. decrease suggests a progressive decline in size, amount, numbers, or intensity <slowly decreased the amount of pressure>. lessen suggests a decline in amount rather than in number <has been unable to lessen her debt>. diminish emphasizes a perceptible loss and implies its subtraction from a total <his visual acuity has diminished>. reduce implies a bringing down or lowering <you must reduce your caloric intake>. abate implies a reducing of something excessive or oppressive in force or amount <the storm abated>. dwindle implies progressive lessening and is applied to things growing visibly smaller <their provisions dwindled slowly>.

Rhymes with lessen


LESSEN Defined for Kids

lessen

play
verb less·en \ˈle-sən\

Definition of lessen for Students

less·enedless·en·ing

  1. :  to make or become fewer or smaller in amount





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up lessen? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to defraud especially of money

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image567572573

Which of these is a synonym of unctuous?

prompt oily angry maudlin
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ