bright·en | \ˈbrī-tᵊn \
brightened; brightening\ˈbrīt-niŋ, 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, ˈbrī-tᵊn-ər \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for brighten


buck up, cheer (up), lighten, look up, perk (up)


darken, sadden

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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

Cox poured nearly $5 million into his bid for governor, but his political fortunes really brightened when Trump fired off a tweet endorsing him in the final weeks of the campaign. Matt Pearce,, "Gavin Newsom takes first place in California primary for governor," 6 June 2018 My favorite feature is the photochromic Reactiv lenses that darken and brighten to suit the light conditions. Ben Fox, Outside Online, "Our Favorite Sunglasses for Every Activity," 20 Apr. 2018 On the opposite end of the spectrum is the umami bomb that is the hongos, a dish of sauteed wild mushrooms (brightened with a bit of sherry) crowned with a runny egg. Phil Vettel,, "Bar Biscay review: 'Bigger box' gives mfk team more room to play," 13 Apr. 2018 But Magnum Moon and Noble Indy brightened his outlook when each won his first two starts, then captured rich stakes. Tom Jicha,, "Kentucky Derby hopeful Audible cruises to Florida Derby victory," 1 Apr. 2018 Fresh Summer Rolls Crispy and delicious, these summer rolls will brighten up any outdoor party. Audrey Bruno, SELF, "Recipes Everyone Is Making this Summer, According to Pinterest," 7 June 2018 Undercover and safe from the rain, men were Southern gentlemen clad in pink and women slayed in neon dresses with coordinating insane millinery, brightening up the bleak skies. Bailey Loosemore, The Courier-Journal, "Celebs and fashion flood Churchill Downs despite record rain at Kentucky Derby," 5 May 2018 Although nothing is wrong with that, the unexpected pastel purple shade helped brighten up his face. Devon Abelman, Allure, "9 Amazing Beauty Moments Looks from EXO-CBX's "Blooming Day" Music Video," 10 Apr. 2018 There’s nothing like brightening up a Tuesday with a free ice cream cone., "Jerry Seinfeld, Free Ben & Jerry's ice cream, and other great happenings in Philadelphia," 4 Apr. 2018

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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Statistics for brighten

Last Updated

10 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for brighten

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

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More Definitions for brighten



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 \
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

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a generally accepted meaning of a word

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