lessen

verb less·en \ ˈle-sᵊn \
|Updated on: 7 Jul 2018

Definition of lessen

lessened; lessening play \ˈles-niŋ, ˈle-sᵊn-iŋ\
: to shrink in size, number, or degree : decrease
  • The pain will lessen over time.
1 : to reduce in size, extent, or degree
  • lessen tensions between nations
2 a archaic : to represent as of little value
b : to lower in status or dignity : degrade

Examples of lessen in a Sentence

  1. Medication helps lessen the severity of the symptoms.

  2. we lessened our efforts as it became clear they weren't having an effect

Recent Examples of lessen from the Web

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

13th century

in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

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Synonym Discussion of 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

LESSEN Defined for English Language Learners

lessen

Definition of lessen for English Language Learners

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


LESSEN Defined for Kids

lessen

verb less·en \ ˈle-sᵊn \

Definition of lessen for Students

lessened; lessening
: to make or become fewer or smaller in amount


Seen and Heard

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