wid·​en | \ ˈwī-dᵊn How to pronounce widen (audio) \
widened; widening\ ˈwīd-​niŋ How to pronounce widening (audio) , ˈwī-​dᵊn-​iŋ \

Definition of widen

transitive verb

: to increase the width, scope, or extent of widen a road widen an investigation

intransitive verb

: to become wide or wider a widening gap

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Other Words from widen

widener \ ˈwīd-​nər How to pronounce widener (audio) , ˈwī-​dᵊn-​ər \ noun

Examples of widen in a Sentence

The city is going to widen the road. They plan to widen the investigation. Her eyes widened in surprise. They went swimming at a spot where the river widens. The scope of the investigation has widened.
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Recent Examples on the Web In his later bestsellers, Burioni widened his case against pseudoscience in Italy. Douglas Starr, Science | AAAS, "This Italian scientist has become a celebrity by fighting vaccine skeptics," 2 Jan. 2020 And, of course, numerous studies show that the digital divide is widening, a chasm that poses questions about whether opportunities for success can and will be open to all. Dallas Morning News, Twin Cities, "Other voices: The internet is 50 years old. Will we survive the next 50 years?," 17 Dec. 2019 Employers have widened their scope, recruiting people with disabilities or criminal records. Arkansas Online, "U.S. gains 266,000 jobs; unemployment at 3.5%," 7 Dec. 2019 The agency widened its investigation, requesting records from 10 hospitals. Kayla Webley Adler, Marie Claire, "The First Crime Against Them Is Rape. The Second Is Being Billed for It," 5 Dec. 2019 But the familiar theme of widening operating losses as part of its financial statements remains in place as the e-commerce giant was in the red for about €54.6 million ($60 million) in the third quarter of the year. Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, "Jumia is shipping bigger losses but its plans to build an African fintech leader are on pace," 13 Nov. 2019 But the modern form of capitalism also has produced widening income inequality and urgent environmental problems. Aron Cramer, Quartz at Work, "Capitalism is not working. Here’s how business leaders can fix it," 25 Oct. 2019 The Liberals and Conservatives had narrowed to similar projections after Trudeau’s blackface scandal jolted his campaign, but the gap between the two has since widened again. Josh Wingrove, Bloomberg.com, "Trudeau Has a Head Start, But Many Races Are Too Close to Call," 16 Oct. 2019 Trust in institutions is falling because of political and economic upheaval, most notably through ever widening income inequality. Claire Wardle, Scientific American, "Misinformation Has Created a New World Disorder," 20 Aug. 2019

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

1566, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

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Time Traveler for widen

Time Traveler

The first known use of widen was in 1566

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Statistics for widen

Last Updated

9 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Widen.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/widen. Accessed 18 January 2020.

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More Definitions for widen


How to pronounce widen (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of widen

: to make (something) wide or wider
: to become wide or wider


wid·​en | \ ˈwī-dᵊn How to pronounce widen (audio) \
widened; widening

Kids Definition of widen

: to make or become wide or wider The road is being widened.

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More from Merriam-Webster on widen

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for widen

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with widen

Spanish Central: Translation of widen

Nglish: Translation of widen for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of widen for Arabic Speakers

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