fresh·​en ˈfre-shən How to pronounce freshen (audio)
freshened; freshening ˈfre-sh(ə-)niŋ How to pronounce freshen (audio)

intransitive verb

: to grow or become fresh: such as
of wind : to increase in strength
: to become fresh in appearance or vitality
usually used with up
freshen up with a shower
of a milk animal : to begin lactating

transitive verb

: to make fresh
also : refresh, revive
freshener noun

Example Sentences

a mint that freshens the breath Can I freshen your drink?
Recent Examples on the Web Every couple falls into a relationship rut, says Orbuch, and even just driving a different route around your neighborhood can freshen things up. Women's Health, 10 Feb. 2023 Brushing your tongue helps to freshen breath and clean your mouth of any bacteria. Bianca London, Glamour, 12 Jan. 2023 Already, Twitter Blue exists, a monthly subscription service that gives users access to premium features for a price, so Musk may work to freshen that plot and entice big-name account holders to tweet more. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, 25 Apr. 2022 Plus, the addition of natural mint flavoring helps freshen their breath with every bite. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 29 Jan. 2023 Toppings of cilantro, lime juice and yogurt freshen each serving. Kitty Greenwald, WSJ, 9 Mar. 2022 The Biden administration has condemned the 2018 killing but now plans to freshen ties with the desert kingdom. Los Angeles Times, 7 June 2022 The French are all about Cachou Lajaunie pastels, which are intended to freshen your breath after a meal. Rebecca Douglas, Bon Appétit, 20 Apr. 2022 There’s just so much even a fine actor like Michael Shannon can do to freshen such stale material, even when he’s given a plum role as a demanding coach who expects the impossible from his young charges. Joe Leydon, Variety, 28 Oct. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'freshen.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1532, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of freshen was in 1532

Dictionary Entries Near freshen

Cite this Entry

“Freshen.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


fresh·​en ˈfresh-ən How to pronounce freshen (audio)
freshened; freshening -(ə-)niŋ How to pronounce freshen (audio)
: to make or become fresh : refresh
freshen up with a shower
: to become brisk or strong
the wind freshened
: to brighten in appearance
freshen up a room with some color
freshener noun

Medical Definition


transitive verb
fresh·​en ˈfresh-ən How to pronounce freshen (audio)
freshened; freshening ˈfresh-(ə-)niŋ How to pronounce freshen (audio)
of a milk animal
: to begin lactating

More from Merriam-Webster on freshen

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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