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 And local races are non-partisan and require less money, which lessens the involvement of political parties and reduces the need for fundraising. Evelyn Iritani, Quartz, "Women are more likely than men to leave politics after an early loss," 1 Nov. 2019 Cooler temperatures and light rains in mid-October have helped lessen the impact of the drought on crops, the weather service said. Billy Kobin, The Courier-Journal, "Amid drought, Kentucky ag commissioner asks USDA for a disaster declaration for farmers," 19 Oct. 2019 Aldrin, as the flight neared, lessened his protests and for public consumption was the loyal second in command. Jamie Turner, cleveland.com, "Who would be first on the Moon and why? ‘Neil Armstrong was our Lindbergh’: Apollo 11 at 50," 18 July 2019 In 2019, the company plans to lessen energy use and water consumption in 100% of its stores, and ensure that at least 20% of its clothing can be included on its sustainable collection called Join Life. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Zara Announced It Intends to Become More Sustainable by 2025," 17 July 2019 Moreover, plans aimed at reducing economic inequality—lessening personal debt, and dealing with the rising costs of health care, housing, and education—should resonate beyond the 40 percent in the bottom tier. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Democrats Should Attack the Trump Economy," 8 July 2019 The hurricane center said rain and storms associated with the system had lessened since Monday, and it what was left was still disorganized. Leigh Morgan, al.com, "Time running out for Gulf tropical wave while attention turns to rain potential," 4 June 2019 The security advisers for President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Friday that amnesty legislation aimed at lessening violence will be developed with the input of crime victims and presented to Mexico's congress. Christopher Sherman, Fox News, "Mexico's president-elect will propose amnesty law," 6 July 2018 But Trump’s withdrawal will likely lessen U.S. negotiating clout when delegations meet this year in Madrid and next year in Glasgow, Scotland, to discuss Paris implementation and the next round of pledges. Jean Chemnick, Scientific American, "Trump Administration Officially Begins Paris Climate Accord Exit," 5 Nov. 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

8 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Lessen.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lessening?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=l&file=lessen02. Accessed 13 December 2019.

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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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easily led, controlled, or managed

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