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noun (1)

light·​en·​er ˈlīt-nər How to pronounce lightener (audio)
plural lighteners
: a substance that makes something lighter in color
especially : a chemical substance used to lighten hair or skin
When my hair started getting darker in my early teens, my mother handed me a bottle of spray-on lightener to help me stay blond. Cybill Shepherd


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noun (2)

plural lighteners
: one that makes something lighter in mood, weight, etc.
When cameras were not rolling, his off-beat humor made him a mood lightener among friends and colleagues, and he could play whatever role was asked of him.Emma Stickgold

Examples of lightener in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Its active melasma fighters have good concentrations of azelaic acid and alpha arbutin, a form of prescription-grade skin lightener hydroquinone. Kayla Blanton, Verywell Health, 22 Sep. 2023 But for those looking to treat hyperpigmentation—and who would prefer to avoid abrasive lighteners and laser treatments—investing in a product that includes kojic acid is a worthwhile skincare step. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, 2 Aug. 2023 Respondents who used skin lighteners reported experiencing colorism in their lives. Char Adams, NBC News, 14 July 2023 Traditionally, the colorist mixes the lightener with water to soften the lightener. Alexis Benveniste, Allure, 20 June 2022 Candidates for purple shampoo include those who have platinum hair, blonde highlights or anyone who has had some form of lightener or bleach in their hair. Rachel Dube, Peoplemag, 18 Nov. 2022 Mostly brunette, the wafer-thin, bleached strands that sit at the front of her face impart a contouring effect — think of the technique as a modern-day alternative to using Sun-In hair lightener. Jacqueline Kilikita,, 24 Jan. 2022 Black Lives Matter activism has jolted the skin lightener industry. Lynn M. Thomas, Quartz Africa, 29 Nov. 2020 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

Noun (1)

1892, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

circa 1611, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of lightener was circa 1611

Dictionary Entries Near lightener

Cite this Entry

“Lightener.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2024.

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