less·​en | \ ˈle-sᵊn How to pronounce lessen (audio) \
lessened; lessening\ ˈles-​niŋ How to pronounce lessening (audio) , ˈle-​sᵊn-​iŋ \

Definition of lessen

intransitive verb

: to shrink in size, number, or degree : decrease The pain will lessen over time.

transitive verb

1 : to reduce in size, extent, or degree lessen tensions between nations
2a archaic : to represent as of little value
b : to lower in status or dignity : degrade

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Choose the Right Synonym for lessen

decrease, lessen, diminish, reduce, abate, dwindle mean to grow or make less. decrease suggests a progressive decline in size, amount, numbers, or intensity. slowly decreased the amount of pressure lessen suggests a decline in amount rather than in number. has been unable to lessen her debt diminish emphasizes a perceptible loss and implies its subtraction from a total. his visual acuity has diminished reduce implies a bringing down or lowering. you must reduce your caloric intake abate implies a reducing of something excessive or oppressive in force or amount. the storm abated dwindle implies progressive lessening and is applied to things growing visibly smaller. their provisions dwindled slowly

Examples of lessen in a Sentence

Medication helps lessen the severity of the symptoms. we lessened our efforts as it became clear they weren't having an effect
Recent Examples on the Web While your typical cleaning methods may not be up for the challenge, following this nail polish-emergency protocol can help lessen the impact of your at-home salon adventures. Natalie Schumann, Country Living, "How to Get Nail Polish out of Your Carpet," 13 Dec. 2019 Fuel prices typically fall this time of year because of lessening demand and the changeover to cheaper winter-grade fuels. Jordan Blum, Houston Chronicle, "Fuel costs holding steady after uptick in oil prices," 11 Nov. 2019 Automakers use carbon fiber, plastic and aluminum to make car parts and lessen vehicle load. Jamie L. Lareau, Detroit Free Press, "General Motors reveals its vision of the future for the UAW workforce," 30 Oct. 2019 With the club undergoing significant changes this summer, Brahim’s pre-season injury came at the worst possible time, especially with Marco Asensio’s absence lessening competition for places. SI.com, "Brahim Diaz Suffers Fresh Injury Just One Week Into New Season," 20 Aug. 2019 Dixon said, noting FEMA has more money available this year for projects designed to lessen the impact of natural disasters. Angelo Bruscas, The Seattle Times, "Ocean Shores moves forward with FEMA application for tsunami-safe structure," 21 Nov. 2018 This may explain, in part, research showing that creative activities involving the hands enhance well-being, in some cases to the point of lessening depression. Philip Chard, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Dirt under your fingernails is a mental health remedy," 22 June 2018 Whiplash-injury-lessening seats are standard in the front. star-telegram, "Toyota Camry Hybrid returns for 2018 with the same makeover as the Camry | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 28 Apr. 2018 Pugh was on the injured reserve at the time, but that didn't lessen his desire to be involved. Katherine Fitzgerald, azcentral, "With mom as role model, Arizona Cardinals OL Justin Pugh gives back to the community," 12 Dec. 2019

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

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Time Traveler for lessen

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for lessen

Last Updated

20 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Lessen.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lessen. Accessed 22 January 2020.

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More Definitions for lessen


How to pronounce lessen (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of lessen

: to become less or to cause (something) to become less


less·​en | \ ˈle-sᵊn How to pronounce lessen (audio) \
lessened; lessening

Kids Definition of lessen

: to make or become fewer or smaller in amount

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More from Merriam-Webster on lessen

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lessen

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with lessen

Spanish Central: Translation of lessen

Nglish: Translation of lessen for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lessen for Arabic Speakers

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