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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

The short-term risk of moving in anticipation of events is that the outlook brightens and the rate cut then sparks inflation. The Economist, "The market believes the Fed will cut rates by September. Should it?," 13 June 2019 Bank stocks rose after the U.S. decision to hold off implementing trade tariffs on Mexican imports brightened investors’ economic outlook. Michael Wursthorn, WSJ, "Bank Stocks Climb on Mexico Tariff Delay," 10 June 2019 Thank you to @RobRiggle, Paul Rudd, Jason Sudeikis, @davidkoechner, @ericstonestreet and all of their friends for brightening our kids’ day and raising a ton of money for pediatric research!! Bonnie Stiernberg, Billboard, "Selena Gomez Participates In Charity Softball Game For Children's Hospital," 7 June 2019 The Kylie Skin serum infused with vitamin C, an essential skincare ingredient for brightening up dark spots, boosting collagen production, and adding free-radical antioxidant protection. Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, "I Used Only Kylie Skin Products For a Whole Week. Here's My Honest Review.," 29 May 2019 Fans sang the praises of purple-to-lavender shades for brightening up dark under-eyes. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "This Redditor Shared a Genius Undereye Concealer Tip for Brown Skin Tones," 2 May 2019 Saturday & Sunday — antioxidants: Weekends are for brightening, free radical-fighting antioxidants. Janna Mandell, San Francisco Chronicle, "100% Pure’s natural skin-care empire relies on good chemistry," 8 Feb. 2018 Overcast skies may break fairly early in the day, brightening us even amid periodic showers and storms. A. Camden Walker, Washington Post, "D.C.-area forecast: Periodic rain likely into the weekend, probably heaviest and most widespread today," 22 June 2018 One of Brugman's skincare goals is to brighten and hydrate her complexion. Nicole Saunders, Harper's BAZAAR, "Watch Devin Brugman's Entire Nightly Skincare Routine," 16 May 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.

See More

First Known Use of brighten

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about brighten

Statistics for brighten

Last Updated

20 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for brighten

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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).


to take the place or position of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!