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 The upgrading of the CX-9's largest available infotainment touchscreen from 8.0 to 9.0 inches (a 7.0-incher remains standard) somewhat brightens the cabin. Mike Sutton, Car and Driver, "2020 Mazda CX-9's Updates Don't Go Far Enough," 4 Feb. 2020 The silky soothing Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask will completely hydrate and brighten your skin overnight, while a spritz of the delish Ultra-Fine Mist will give you the freshest glow. Yerin Kim, Seventeen, "Glow Recipe Is Launching a “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” Skincare Set," 31 Jan. 2020 Talk about simple: Ellie Krieger’s pineapple drizzled with a spiced honey is a perfect way to brighten a wintry meal. The Washington Post, "Free Range on Food: Caring for your cast iron, picky eaters, vitamins, breakfast sausage, this week's recipes and more!," 29 Jan. 2020 Best Vitamin C Serum Vitamin C can brighten skin, even out skin tone, and even stimulate collagen production—all good things. Glamour Beauty Editors, Glamour, "Shop All the Glamour Beauty Awards Readers’ Choice Skin-Care Nominees," 15 Jan. 2020 There's vitamin C that can help brighten the skin and get rid of dullness. Staff, CNN Underscored, "Underscored's top 50 of 2019: The best in home, tech and style," 19 Dec. 2019 The affordable eye cream packs a lengthy list of beneficial ingredients—ranging from vitamin C to caffeine—that work together to hydrate, moisturize, and brighten the delicate skin around your eyes with just one product. Braelyn Wood,, "You Won’t Have to Stress About Dark Circles With This Anti-Aging Eye Cream," 26 Nov. 2019 Placental extracts may contain proteins and growth factors thought to potentially protect and brighten the skin and stimulate collagen. Shalwah Evans, Essence, "Dr. Michelle Henry Talks How To Treat Underarm Hyperpigmentation, Milia And More," 16 Oct. 2019 But don’t just take our word for it: Clinical trials on over 200 men and women showed that the products brightened skin, reduced pores and lines, and improved hydration levels. Hana Hong, Marie Claire, "Tom Ford Is Coming Out With Skincare," 12 Aug. 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

14 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Brighten.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 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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