bright·​en | \ ˈbrī-tᵊn How to pronounce brighten (audio) \
brightened; brightening\ ˈbrīt-​niŋ How to pronounce brightening (audio) , ˈbrī-​tᵊn-​iŋ \

Definition of brighten

transitive verb

1 : to make bright or brighter you brightened my day
2 : to enhance or intensify the flavor of (food) especially by adding an acidic element (such as citrus juice or vinegar) Crisp lemon slices brighten smoky bacon and rosemary-infused trout.— Melissa Roberts-Matar

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Other Words from brighten

brightener \ ˈbrīt-​nər How to pronounce brightener (audio) , ˈbrī-​tᵊn-​ər \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for brighten



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Examples of brighten in a Sentence

He brightened the picture on the television. Flowers can brighten any room. The good news brightened her mood. The sky brightened after the storm. Business prospects brightened last month. Her face brightened in relief when she heard that he was not hurt.
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Recent Examples on the Web And for your Christmas cookie indulgence, here are two sparkling wines — a top-notch champagne with just a touch of sweetness and a moscato d’Asti that will brighten any dessert. Dave Mcintyre, Washington Post, "This exceptional, vibrant Spanish white wine will set you back only $17," 29 Nov. 2019 Special thanks to the caring people at Savannah Court of Oviedo, Redeemer Lutheran Church, and to her extended family and her friends who brightened her day with their visits and calls., "Deaths in Central Florida: 11/8," 8 Nov. 2019 Along with the touch of luminous eyeshadow—pressed at the inner corners and inching along the lower lash line—that brightened her gaze, Johansson painted her signature pout in, well, scarlet, the lipstick finished with a bit of balm. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "Scarlett Johansson’s Latest Bold Makeup Look Is Primed for Holiday Party Season," 6 Nov. 2019 Europe’s highest court just delivered a ruling that should brighten the day of not just Google—its immediate beneficiary—but Internet users around the world. David Meyer, Fortune, "Top Court Rules Google Doesn’t Have to Censor Around the World Because of European Privacy Laws," 24 Sep. 2019 It's made with a lightweight and oil-free formula that brightens up your skin without overcoating it. Jasmine Gomez, Seventeen, "10 Best Drugstore Foundations For Oily Skin," 30 July 2019 Conti and Pinori take us back in time instead, enlivening a medley of former lives that brighten not only their own souls, but also the spirits of those around them. Claudia Kalb, National Geographic, "See where Leonardo da Vinci still walks the streets," 6 June 2019 Lindsey and his colleagues are now trying to brighten up the deep with an emerging technique called distributed acoustic sensing. Madeleine Stone, National Geographic, "Mysterious tectonic fault zone found off California," 28 Nov. 2019 When in season, berries are also a nice way to brighten up a salad. Samantha Cassetty, NBC News, "The MIND diet: 11 foods to eat to keep your brain healthy," 22 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'brighten.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of brighten

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

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Time Traveler for brighten

Time Traveler

The first known use of brighten was in the 14th century

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Statistics for brighten

Last Updated

17 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Brighten.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 19 January 2020.

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More Definitions for brighten


How to pronounce brighten (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of brighten

: to add more light to (something)
: to make (something) more colorful or cheerful
: to become brighter or more cheerful


bright·​en | \ ˈbrī-tᵊn How to pronounce brighten (audio) \
brightened; brightening

Kids Definition of brighten

1 : to add more light to Candlelight brightened the room.
2 : to make or become cheerful You brightened my day.

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Comments on brighten

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


to insert between existing elements

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