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

Within that massive trove, LSST’s astronomers will seek out supernovae, colliding stars, and other transient or variable phenomena—sources that momentarily brighten in the electromagnetic spectrum and then fade away over hours, days or weeks. Anil Ananthaswamy, Scientific American, "Faced with a Data Deluge, Astronomers Turn to Automation," 21 Aug. 2019 Then comes serums, specifically: Odacite's An Autumn On The World Vitamin C Serum followed by Trish McEvoy's Beauty Booster, both of which brighten and plump the skin. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "4 Top Nutritionists Reveal Their Complete Skin-Care Routines," 16 Aug. 2019 Caffeine, known to help brighten and energize skin by locking sodium ions in your body, is the VIP player. Hana Hong, Marie Claire, "Tom Ford Is Coming Out With Skincare," 12 Aug. 2019 Paint is an inexpensive way to brighten and instantly upgrade a room. Mari-jane Williams, Washington Post, "How to update a tired family room, starting with a fireplace refresh," 25 July 2019 Kokoschka/Pro In Dresden, where Kokoschka settled after World War I, the artist’s palette brightens and his impasto technique, hitherto mostly confined to faces, hands and clothing, floods his canvases, often extending to their very corners. A.j. Goldmann, WSJ, "‘Oskar Kokoschka—Expressionist, Migrant, European. A Retrospective’ Review: Longevity as Blessing and Curse," 2 Jan. 2019 From vintage Shiny Brites to DIY ornaments, these baubles brighten up trees of all shapes and sizes and make charming display areas for Christmas gifts. Country Living, "The History of the Christmas Tree Goes Back Farther Than You Might Realize," 4 Sep. 2019 Public art is such a delightful way to brighten our existence and bring spontaneous smiles to passersby. Pat Lenhoff,, "Column: July was so hot that it should cause alarm for everyone," 7 Aug. 2019 And opt for a lightweight, translucent brightening powder instead of anything heavy, matte, and oil-absorbing. Petra Guglielmetti, Glamour, "How to Apply Concealer the Right Way, According to Pros," 10 Dec. 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 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).


a bell tower

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