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

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 More likely is that the administration will seek other ways to increase competition by lessening the privileges granted to the GSEs. The Economist, "Steven Mnuchin begins reforming America’s giant mortgage-guarantee firms," 14 Sep. 2019 The systems have aided in lessening the problem, and radiation levels around the area have fallen. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Would Japan Dump Radioactive Water Into the Pacific Ocean?," 12 Sep. 2019 The walls are built to absorb some of the kinetic energy from the crashed car, lessening the force of the crash. Tyler Kraft, Indianapolis Star, "Brad Keselowski calls IMS safety into question after crash into tire barrier," 8 Sep. 2019 Water treatments to adjust pH and lessen corrosion can be effective in reducing exposure to lead. Maura C. Allaire, The Conversation, "How to address America’s lead crisis and provide safe drinking water for all," 3 Sep. 2019 This awareness — so important to our current culture wars — should make The Matrix more relevant than ever, but the film’s comic-book characterizations lessen its impact. Armond White, National Review, "Is The Matrix the Conservative’s Star Wars?," 30 Aug. 2019 They can be used to model diseases and test various therapies while lessening the need for human and animal research subjects in early trials. Bret Stetka, Scientific American, "Lab-Grown “Mini Brains” Can Now Mimic the Neural Activity of a Preterm Infant," 29 Aug. 2019 The computer models seem to indicate a decent environment for strengthening with lessening environmental winds (weaker wind shear) likely allowing Dorian to get better organized. Jeff Berardelli, CBS News, "A critical moment for Tropical Storm Dorian is just hours away," 27 Aug. 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

13 Oct 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

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