length·​en ˈleŋ(k)-thən How to pronounce lengthen (audio)
lengthened; lengthening
ˈleŋ(k)-thə- How to pronounce lengthen (audio)

transitive verb

: to make longer

intransitive verb

: to grow longer
ˈleŋ(k)-thə- How to pronounce lengthen (audio)
Choose the Right Synonym for lengthen

extend, lengthen, prolong, protract mean to draw out or add to so as to increase in length.

extend and lengthen imply a drawing out in space or time but extend may also imply increase in width, scope, area, or range.

extend a vacation
extend welfare services
lengthen a skirt
lengthen the workweek

prolong suggests chiefly increase in duration especially beyond usual limits.

prolonged illness

protract adds to prolong implications of needlessness, vexation, or indefiniteness.

protracted litigation

Examples of lengthen in a Sentence

The days lengthened with the approach of spring. Proper care will lengthen the life of the engine. lengthen a pair of trousers
Recent Examples on the Web Featuring 30 essential oils, the rosemary oil combats dandruff and lengthens hair. Amy Schulman, Peoplemag, 26 Mar. 2024 Balch said the study is another reminder that global warming — from humans burning fossil fuels — is adding strain to firefighters who are struggling to manage the risk as the fire season lengthens and communities grow in fire-prone areas. Evan Bush, NBC News, 13 Mar. 2024 Read More: Where the Push to Make Daylight Saving Time Permanent Stands Unfortunately, there is no way to lengthen daylight hours in the winter to resemble blissful midsummer days and nights. TIME, 9 Mar. 2024 The player: Tim Anderson Anderson is coming off his worst season as a big leaguer, but has the tools and the drive to bounce back and lengthen Miami’s lineup. Jordan McPherson, Miami Herald, 26 Mar. 2024 The aft swim platform has also been lengthened by roughly 2.3 feet. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 26 Mar. 2024 Shadows lengthen through the streets, and twilight falls ever so softly on this town that teeters on the brink yet somehow always manages to hang on. Find the reporter at www.rogernaylor.com. Roger Naylor, The Arizona Republic, 22 Mar. 2024 As noted above, lengthen your torso and lean forward to intensify the stretching sensation in your hip. Dana Santas, CNN, 27 Feb. 2024 It’s helped grow the bare spots in my eyebrows and lengthened my lashes. Mia Meltzer, Rolling Stone, 23 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'lengthen.' 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

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of lengthen was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near lengthen

Cite this Entry

“Lengthen.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lengthen. Accessed 15 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


length·​en ˈleŋ(k)-thən How to pronounce lengthen (audio)
lengthened; lengthening ˈleŋ(k)th-(ə-)niŋ How to pronounce lengthen (audio)
: to make or become longer
lengthener noun

More from Merriam-Webster on lengthen

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