straight·​en | \ˈstrā-tᵊn \
straightened; straightening\ˈstrāt-​niŋ, ˈstrā-​tᵊn-​iŋ \

Definition of straighten 

transitive verb

: to make straight usually used with up or out

intransitive verb

: to become straight usually used with up or out

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Other Words from straighten

straightener \ˈstrāt-​nər, ˈstrā-​tᵊn-​ər \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for straighten


unbend, uncurl, unkink


bend, crook, curl, curve

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Examples of straighten in a Sentence

He straightened the bent antenna. The drooping flowers straightened in the rain.

Recent Examples on the Web

Straight and Simple First use a straightening serum like Fluid Intense. Devin Toth, Redbook, "Easy Holiday Hairstyles," 8 Dec. 2011 The spaghetti should straighten out and not break any further. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "MIT scientists crack the case of breaking spaghetti in two," 15 Aug. 2018 Without letting your shoulder blades or arms break contact with the wall, slide your hands up the wall, straightening out your elbows. Alexa Tucker, SELF, "2 Simple Shoulder Exercises Anyone Who Works Out Should Be Doing," 22 July 2018 Bring the knee back and straighten your leg to return to start. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "Here's How to Do Octavia Spencer's Low-Impact Cardio Workout," 4 Oct. 2018 Now slowly lift your trunk and gently straighten your legs, keeping your tailbone long. Holly Lebowitz Rossi, Good Housekeeping, "What to Do Right After You Throw Out Your Back," 26 July 2018 Keeping your ankle flexed at 90 degrees, elevate and straighten the right leg., "5 easy exercises you can do from your chair," 27 Mar. 2018 Rhythmically bend and straighten legs, letting only toes touch floor. Harper's BAZAAR, "Problem Solving Guide for Your Body," 24 Jan. 2014 Calls from a congresswoman’s aide, unlike calls from a congresswoman’s constituent, tend to get things straightened out lickity split. Steve Rubenstein, San Francisco Chronicle, "111-year-old San Francisco woman had to prove to U.S. government that she was still alive," 23 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'straighten.' 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 straighten

1542, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

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Statistics for straighten

Last Updated

12 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for straighten

The first known use of straighten was in 1542

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More Definitions for straighten



English Language Learners Definition of straighten

: to make (something) straight or to become straight

: to make (something) organized or tidy : to put (something) in order


straight·​en | \ˈstrā-tᵊn \
straightened; straightening

Kids Definition of straighten

1 : to make or become straight The road straightened out.

2 : to put in order Please straighten up the room.

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Comments on straighten

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


a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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