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

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 Aeon and Giurge agreed that cultural change is key, and also recommended tinkering with some aspects of work itself to lessen the burden. Joe Pinsker, The Atlantic, 25 July 2022 Florida is among several other states, including California and Colorado, that are issuing stimulus or tax rebate checks this summer to lessen the burden of inflation on their residents. Christine Mui, Fortune, 22 July 2022 According to the announcement, the company’s goal is to help lessen the financial burden for up to 50 students from diverse backgrounds. Jem Aswad, Variety, 28 June 2022 Her company offers an annual stipend to help workers lessen the financial burden of menstruation and menopause. Angela Haupt, Washington Post, 25 May 2022 Last season Arizona State defensive lineman B.J. Green talked about wanting to earn a scholarship to lessen the financial burden on his parents. Michelle Gardner, The Arizona Republic, 23 May 2022 This will add three quality teams to the Central Division and lessen the burden of scheduling nonconference games and hopefully eliminate the need to schedule ridiculously one-sided games with teams from Canada. Mick Mccabe, Detroit Free Press, 22 Mar. 2022 Having a group share his four season tickets also helps lessen the financial burden. Meghan Montemurro, chicagotribune.com, 6 Mar. 2022 The drawback is that the clean energy rollout won’t lessen emissions significantly overnight: the real impact will manifest itself in the medium and long-term when whole energy systems rely largely or exclusively on renewables. Paul Hockenos, CNN, 22 July 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of lessen

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

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

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Last Updated

6 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Lessen.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lessen. Accessed 8 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for lessen


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

Kids Definition of lessen

: to make or become fewer or smaller in amount

More from Merriam-Webster on lessen

Nglish: Translation of lessen for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lessen for Arabic Speakers


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