lessen

verb
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

Of course, barbecue restaurants could place their smokers indoors and lessen the risk of complaints. Janelle Bitker, SFChronicle.com, "Why aren’t there more Bay Area barbecue spots? High costs, logistics," 2 July 2019 Rescuers sprinkled water inside to keep the dust down and lessen the risk of combustion. Washington Post, "‘Like quicksand’: Ohio farmer survives soybean entrapment," 15 June 2019 Rescuers sprinkled water inside to keep the dust down and lessen the risk of combustion. Mitch Stacy, BostonGlobe.com, "‘Like quicksand’: Ohio farmer survives soybean entrapment," 15 June 2019 Loggers are pouring into the woods throughout Northern and Central California to lessen the risk of fires that have become increasingly common amid drought and a warming climate. Jim Carlton, WSJ, "Logs Are Littering California Towns as Trees Are Cut to Prevent Wildfires," 14 June 2019 Clemency petitions go through the Office of Pardon Attorney in the Justice Department, a system set up more than a hundred years ago to lessen the risks and hassles of leaving an entire nation’s pleas for compassion to one person. Campbell Robertson, New York Times, "Pardon Seekers Have a New Strategy in the Trump Era: ‘It’s Who You Know’," 12 July 2018 Get our daily newsletter In the cold war a generation of statesmen, chastened by conflict and the near-catastrophe of the Cuban missile crisis, used arms control to lessen the risk of annihilation. The Economist, "Despite North Korea, arms control is unravelling," 5 May 2018 The American Lung Association says there are a few ways to lessen your risk: don't smoke, avoid secondhand smoke, be aware of air pollution in your home or workplace and advocate for healthy air quality. Shelby Fleig, USA TODAY, "5 things to know about COPD, the lung disease ailing Barbara Bush," 16 Apr. 2018 The modeling results and information from the river forecast center in Slidell help forecasters determine how the weight and speed of the river’s fresh water moving south could lessen the effect of storm surge moving north. Mark Schleifstein, nola.com, "Morganza Spillway opening delayed, but tropical system may also threaten New Orleans," 3 June 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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Dictionary Entries near lessen

-less

lesse

lessee

lessen

Lesseps

lesser

lesser adjutant

Statistics for lessen

Last Updated

7 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for lessen

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

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More Definitions for lessen

lessen

verb

English Language Learners Definition of lessen

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

lessen

verb
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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with lessen

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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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