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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

And lengthening the points will help, since Medvedev’s accumulated court time this summer is considerable. The Si Staff, SI.com, "U.S. Open Men's Semifinals: Picks, Previews for Medvedev-Dimitrov and Nadal-Berrettini," 5 Sep. 2019 Between commercial breaks, replay reviews, rules changes and the additional plays attributable to increased passing, the average Football Bowl Subdivision game lengthened by 23 minutes between 1996 and 2016, from 3:01 to 3:24. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "Kirk Herbstreit should blame ESPN for Louisville fans leaving the Notre Dame game early," 3 Sep. 2019 According to Top Gear, which observed the run, Bugatti’s engineers lengthened the back of the car by about 10 inches to reduce drag and used a laser measuring system to regulate ride height. Wired, "Bugatti's Chiron Clocks 305 MPH Thanks to Top-Notch Tires," 3 Sep. 2019 The legislation, prompted by complaints that city regulations deter housing construction by increasing costs and lengthening the approval process, would force cities to move more quickly, limit fee increases and make other changes. David Garrick, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Bry says mayoral rival Gloria supports housing legislation that could damage neighborhoods," 1 Sep. 2019 That season, which the report defines as the period when more than 10 vessels are in Arctic waters, has been lengthening by about 10 days per year in recent years. Kelly Mayes, Science | AAAS, "Vanishing Arctic ice will open the way for more science voyages, analysis suggests," 12 Aug. 2019 Democrats would expand the background check system to private sales and lengthen the maximum time allowed for a background check to 10 business days. Emily Tillett, CBS News, "What is the federal government doing on gun safety legislation?," 5 Aug. 2019 While additional stops could lengthen the trips, officials say Virgin Trains still will operate as an express train service. Susannah Bryan, sun-sentinel.com, "Brightline could stop in Boca Raton by end of next year," 23 July 2019 And second, why are so many companies still unprofitable at IPO, despite the lengthening gestation period from first VC funding to exit? Leonard Sherman, WIRED, "'Blitzscaling' Is Choking Innovation—and Wasting Money," 11 July 2019

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

8 Oct 2019

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 How to pronounce lengthen (audio) \
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).


a topic to which one constantly reverts

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

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!