length·​en | \ˈleŋ(k)-thən, ˈlen(t)-\
lengthened; lengthening\ ˈleŋ(k)th-​niŋ , ˈlen(t)th-​ ; ˈleŋ(k)-​thə-​, ˈlen(t)-​ \

Definition of lengthen 

transitive verb

: to make longer

intransitive verb

: to grow longer

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from lengthen

lengthener \ ˈleŋ(k)th-​nər , ˈlen(t)th-​ ; ˈleŋ(k)-​thə-​, ˈlen(t)-​ \ noun

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

But the lawyers say that news accounts seized on only part of his comments and that his full remarks show that the president was aware that firing Mr. Comey would lengthen the investigation and dismissed him anyway. New York Times, "Trump’s Lawyers, in Confidential Memo, Argue to Head Off a Historic Subpoena," 2 June 2018 As her stay lengthens, Sawyer realizes there is someone else who must be convinced of her sanity: herself. Gary Thompson, Philly.com, "Eek Claire: Foy aces Steven Soderbergh iPhone-shot horror movie 'Unsane'," 21 Mar. 2018 Repetitious arguments or revisiting previous decisions lengthens meetings. Kelly G. Richardson, sandiegouniontribune.com, "HOA Homefront: Surefire steps to guarantee board meetings will last longer," 7 July 2018 That finding, combined with the apparent longevity-boosting effect of decaf coffee, suggests that caffeine isn’t the life-lengthening mechanism at work in java, Loftfield said. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "Drinking Coffee May Help You Live Longer, Study Says," 2 July 2018 The odds once again lengthened to 16/1 in May when manager Gareth Southgate named an inexperienced 23-man squad that had the third youngest average age in the tournament. SI.com, "Timeline of Hope and Glory: How England's Odds of Winning the World Cup Have Changed in 6 Months," 11 July 2018 In time, Culcu said her trial socket prosthetics will be lengthened with a knee joint and then extended below the knee. Zeynep Bilginsoy And Mehmet Guzel, Fox News, "Syrian girl born without legs gets new prosthetics in Turkey," 8 July 2018 Add wine to the menu Adults only, of course, but serving wine at dinner creates a festive, relaxed atmosphere and can lengthen the time spent at the table. Jackie Pilossoph, chicagotribune.com, "8 ways simplify and enhance your family dinner experience," 28 June 2018 An amendment could be made to lengthen the time down the line, if needed. Erik S. Hanley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "South Milwaukee looking to spend $6 million to revitalize portions of downtown, former Bucyrus property," 27 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lengthen.' 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 lengthen

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about lengthen

Statistics for lengthen

Last Updated

5 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for lengthen

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for lengthen



English Language Learners Definition of lengthen

: to become longer

: to make (something) longer


length·​en | \ˈleŋ-thən \
lengthened; lengthening

Kids Definition of lengthen

: to make or become longer lengthen a dress

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on lengthen

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lengthen

Spanish Central: Translation of lengthen

Nglish: Translation of lengthen for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lengthen for Arabic Speakers

Comments on lengthen

What made you want to look up lengthen? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


playful or foolish behavior

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


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!