lighten

1 of 2

verb (1)

light·​en ˈlī-tᵊn How to pronounce lighten (audio)
lightened; lightening ˈlīt-niŋ How to pronounce lighten (audio)
ˈlī-tᵊn-iŋ

transitive verb

1
: to make light or clear : illuminate
2
archaic : enlighten
3
: to make (something, such as a color) lighter

intransitive verb

1
a
archaic : to shine brightly
b
: to grow lighter : brighten
2
: to give out flashes of lightning

lighten

2 of 2

verb (2)

lightened; lightening ˈlīt-niŋ How to pronounce lighten (audio)
ˈlī-tᵊn-iŋ

transitive verb

1
a
: to relieve of a burden in whole or in part
the news lightened his mind
b
: to reduce in weight or quantity : lessen
c
: to make less wearisome : alleviate
lighten our sorrow
2

intransitive verb

1
: to become lighter or less burdensome
2
: to become more cheerful
Choose the Right Synonym for lighten

relieve, alleviate, lighten, assuage, mitigate, allay mean to make something less grievous.

relieve implies a lifting of enough of a burden to make it tolerable.

took an aspirin to relieve the pain

alleviate implies temporary or partial lessening of pain or distress.

the lotion alleviated the itching

lighten implies reducing a burdensome or depressing weight.

good news would lighten our worries

assuage implies softening or sweetening what is harsh or disagreeable.

ocean breezes assuaged the intense heat

mitigate suggests a moderating or countering of the effect of something violent or painful.

the need to mitigate barbaric laws

allay implies an effective calming or soothing of fears or alarms.

allayed their fears

Examples of lighten in a Sentence

Verb (1) the room was gradually lightened by the rising sun Verb (2) the patient lightened when he heard the disease responds well to treatment
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
Are there ways that those who care about you can lighten the load of full-time work? Eric Thomas, Sun Sentinel, 3 July 2024 And what health care issues may be lightening rods in this election? Meghana Keshavan, STAT, 28 June 2024 The idea is to recognize and lighten their load, and potentially break down gender stereotypes around who can – or should – provide caregiving. Peter Yeung, The Christian Science Monitor, 25 June 2024 Make a list of your responsibilities, and consider how to lighten the load. Eugenia Last, The Mercury News, 24 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for lighten 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'lighten.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb (1)

Middle English lightenen, from light

First Known Use

Verb (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Verb (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of lighten was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near lighten

Cite this Entry

“Lighten.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lighten. Accessed 13 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

lighten

1 of 2 verb
light·​en ˈlīt-ᵊn How to pronounce lighten (audio)
lightened; lightening ˈlīt-niŋ How to pronounce lighten (audio)
-ᵊn-iŋ
1
: to make or become light, lighter, or clear : brighten
2
: to give out flashes of lightning
lightener
ˈlīt-nər How to pronounce lighten (audio)
-ᵊn-ər
noun

lighten

2 of 2 verb
lightened; lightening ˈlīt-niŋ How to pronounce lighten (audio)
-ᵊn-iŋ
: to make or become less heavy or less difficult
lighten a load
lightened her duties
lightener
ˈlīt-nər How to pronounce lighten (audio)
-ᵊn-ər
noun

More from Merriam-Webster on lighten

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