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

Definition of lengthen

transitive verb

: to make longer

intransitive verb

: to grow longer

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Other Words from lengthen

lengthener \ ˈleŋ(k)th-​nər How to pronounce lengthener (audio) , 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
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Recent Examples on the Web

Flares + Heeled Boots Flares and heels are both items that lengthen the look of the leg. Avery Matera, Glamour, "The Exact Shoes to Wear With Every Pair of Jeans You Own," 4 Apr. 2019 In 2016, France passed tougher laws that lengthened sentences for certain terror offenses. Matthew Dalton, WSJ, "France Begins Release of Hundreds of Radicalized Inmates," 16 July 2018 The Louisiana District Attorneys Association is pushing for the bill that will automatically lengthen probation terms for thousands of offenders. Michelle Hunter, NOLA.com, "Suspect who triggered St. Catherine lockdown to face gun, drug charges: JPSO," 3 Apr. 2018 With just eight games to go, the Bianconeri are likely to claim their seventh Serie A title in a row, lengthening what has been a dominant period in Italian football. SI.com, "Juventus Ultras Reportedly Attacked Milan Staff Bus Before Saturday's Serie A Clash," 1 Apr. 2018 Under the influence of a gravitational wave, one of LIGO’s two tunnels gets almost imperceptibly shorter, while the other one lengthens by the same amount. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "LIGO Gravitational Wave Observatory Getting $30 Million Upgrade," 15 Feb. 2019 Investors shouldn’t be surprised if the time horizon lengthens and the outlook for 2019 gets further downgraded. Elizabeth Winkler, WSJ, "Under Armour’s Never-Ending Story," 12 Feb. 2019 This lengthening vegan mascara claims to instantly add clump-free volume to lashes to give you a wide-eyed effect. Tanisha Pina, Allure, "Dermstore's Anniversary Sale Has Officially Started — And Even Sunday Riley Is on Sale," 9 Aug. 2018 While Putin was out of the Kremlin, his protege Dmitry Medvedev took over the presidency — and presided over a constitutional amendment that lengthened subsequent presidential terms from four years to six. Adam Taylor, Washington Post, "Russia’s parliament to consider proposal to allow Putin to run for reelection again in 2024," 18 May 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.

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First Known Use of lengthen

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

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Statistics for lengthen

Last Updated

9 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for lengthen

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

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More Definitions for lengthen



English Language Learners Definition of lengthen

: to become longer
: to make (something) longer


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

Kids Definition of lengthen

: to make or become longer lengthen a dress

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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).


an act or instance of returning to life

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