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 Not that historical context lessens the pain for the 2019 Rockies (62-85), owners of the second-worst record in the National League. Patrick Saunders, The Denver Post, "Coors Field turns into launching pad in Rockies loss to Cardinals," 12 Sep. 2019 Reducing this cost or other expenses for working people lessens the need for businesses to rapidly raise wages, something that can be especially challenging for smaller businesses. Maureen Conway, Quartz, "What kind of future of work will we choose for America’s working families?," 2 Sep. 2019 Typically, the sewage stench lessens during the day because of an uptick in use — with more flushes, sewage continuously moves through the system. Daily Pilot, "Work targeting stink at Laguna Beach wastewater station is set to begin Tuesday," 29 Aug. 2019 Declining enrollments also have lessened the need for as many new teachers as previous years. Lois K. Solomon, sun-sentinel.com, "Thousands of teaching jobs still open for new school year in Florida," 23 Aug. 2019 That, presumably, will lessen the need for special underwater effects. Gary Levin, USA TODAY, "'The Little Mermaid': ABC resurfaces plans for a live musical version of the classic film with Queen Latifah," 5 Aug. 2019 The technology could potentially save lives and lessen the need for uncomfortable, invasive treatments such as dialysis. Rachel Metz, CNN, "DeepMind's AI could predict serious kidney injury up to two days before it strikes," 1 Aug. 2019 Trump’s threats have lessened the likelihood of some sort of a deal, prompting investors to dump risky assets including crude, according to Hong Sungki, a commodities trader at NH Investment & Securities Co. in Seoul. Bloomberg.com, "Commodity Markets Hit Again as Trump Calls for More China Duties," 6 Apr. 2018 There's no cure for psoriatic arthritis, per the NPF, but treatments, like steroids, are available to help stop the disease progression, lessen pain, protect joints and preserve range of motion. Amber Brenza, Health.com, "Kim Kardashian Reveals Psoriatic Arthritis Diagnosis—Here's What That Means," 16 Sep. 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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Statistics for lessen

Last Updated

27 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for lessen

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

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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

Comments on lessen

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to engage in dissolute behavior

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