noun (1)
light·​en·​er | \ ˈlīt-nər How to pronounce lightener (audio) , ˈlī-tᵊn-ər \
plural lighteners

Definition of lightener

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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


noun (2)
plural lighteners

Definition of lightener (Entry 2 of 2)

: 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

First Known Use of lightener

Noun (1)

1889, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

circa 1611, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about lightener

Time Traveler for lightener

Time Traveler

The first known use of lightener was circa 1611

See more words from the same year

Statistics for lightener

Last Updated

27 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Lightener.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Feb. 2020.

Comments on lightener

What made you want to look up lightener? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!