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


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

These days, there are masks designed to moisturize, plump, and/or brighten pretty much every single part of the body. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "I Tried Nair’s New Hair-Removal Masks — Here’s What Happened," 15 July 2019 Makes 4 servings Lemon, dill, and chives, added at the end, brighten the dish and complement the nuttiness of the grain. Christopher Kimball,, "Recipes: Three new ways to love grains," 9 July 2019 And from free-range chickens raised on feed seasoned with paprika, which brightens the yolks, Pugh says. Deborah Vankin,, "Eggs are being fried as art at the Hammer Museum. Let's see what's cooking," 9 July 2019 Give in to the desire to be a social butterfly in September when group outings can brighten your spare time. Tribune Content Agency,, "Horoscope for July 3, 2019: Happy birthday Tom Cruise; Libra, business and pleasure don’t always mix," 3 July 2019 People who follow her journey on her website invite her to stay in their guest rooms and refer her to people to interview in their communities who brighten others' lives. Anchorage Daily News, "New York woman has been on a three-year road trip documenting acts of kindness," 25 June 2019 The space agency saw the activity of stars and noticed starlight that would briefly brighten before getting dim. Fox News, "Sun could unleash violent 'superflare' in the next century, researchers warn," 13 June 2019 The trend continued well into the following season, as designers from Sies Marjan to Matthew Adams Dolan brightened up their Fall/Winter 2019 collections with the electric hue. Nandi Howard, Essence, "Lime Green Is The Fall Trend To Start Wearing Now," 12 June 2019 Everyone – even Beyoncé — seemingly went from blonde to brunette in spring, but in the past month or so, a few celebrities have ditched their old hair colour for blonder highlights that brighten the ends of the hair, not the roots. Samantha Sasso,, "Gigi Hadid Loves This Low-Maintenance Hair Colour For Summer, Too," 8 June 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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Statistics for brighten

Last Updated

18 Jul 2019

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 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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More from Merriam-Webster on brighten

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with brighten

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for brighten

Spanish Central: Translation of brighten

Nglish: Translation of brighten for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of brighten for Arabic Speakers

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).


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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