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 Nature’s green generosity was on display, brightened by bursts of pink and purple rhododendrons. Amy Alipio, National Geographic, "Why hiking Wales is one of our best trips for 2020," 14 Dec. 2019 The textured aluminum trim and white stitching on the upholstery helped brighten our SUV's black interior and gave it an upscale appearance. Drew Dorian, Car and Driver, "Long-Term 2019 Volvo XC60: New Engine, New Platform, New Factory, No Surprises," 13 Feb. 2020 But the right wine name can help brighten the mood even before the first sip. Washington Post, "How to pick a Valentine’s Day wine that’s as romantic as your mood," 31 Jan. 2020 And as President of the Leominster Police Association, Cantois reached out to neighboring police departments to help brighten JJ's holiday. Ila Wilborn And Scottie Andrew, CNN, "Police surprised a 4-year-old boy for Christmas after his mother was killed," 24 Dec. 2019 InstaNatural Vitamin C Serum with Hyaluronic Acid & Vitamin E ($17.96; Vitamin C is a common skin care ingredient used to brighten skin and fight signs of aging. CNN Underscored, "CNN Underscored readers' favorite Amazon products last month," 3 Oct. 2019 Affordable energy prices are brightening Leonore Barfield’s winter. Amrith Ramkumar, WSJ, "Falling Fuel Costs Buoy U.S. Consumers," 23 Feb. 2020 Prospects brightened following diplomatic pressure from neighbouring countries and threats of more sanctions from America. The Economist, "A fraught path to peace South Sudan inches towards a unity government," 20 Feb. 2020 The wake-up mode gradually brightens like the sun rising, creating a natural setting to wake up in. Isabel Garcia, House Beautiful, "Dyson Just Launched a New Mood-Based Smart Light Designed to Last for 60 Years," 3 Feb. 2020

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

27 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Brighten.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Apr. 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

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