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

Part of the solution to America’s widening cancer gap may lie with cities Eliminating these disparities would avert one-third of all cancer deaths in this country, according to the American Cancer Society. Julia Belluz, Vox, "We’re making real progress against cancer. But you may not know it if you’re poor.," 8 Jan. 2019 Photo: John Black Photography Peers may distance themselves too, widening the gulf. Sue Shellenbarger, WSJ, "When a Promotion Means Losing Friends at Work," 26 Feb. 2019 Just after an intersection, the road temporarily widened to give buses room to stop at a bus stop without blocking the flow of traffic. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "We finally talked to an actual Waymo passenger—here’s what he told us," 13 Dec. 2018 Immigrant rights advocates have noticed the shift but are uncertain of the widening movement’s staying power. Marissa J. Lang, Washington Post, "‘I’ve never seen that before’: Activists marvel as calls for immigrant rights enter the mainstream," 7 July 2018 With unemployment now at 3.9%, companies are having to widen their candidate pools and invest in training. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Two Tacos and a B.A., Please," 13 Jan. 2019 On the Outer Banks, new inlets could form while others are widened and deepened. Ben Finley, Fox News, "AP Explains: Why North Carolina is vulnerable to hurricanes," 12 Sep. 2018 The restoration, directed by noted golf course architect Gil Hanse of Malvern and based on aerial photographs of the course from 1929, enlarged the greens to their original dimensions, widened fairways, and rebuilt teeing grounds. Joe Juliano, Philly.com, "Aronimink ready to show off restored course at September PGA event," 9 July 2018 Red Beets Beets are high in nitrates, which our bodies use to make nitric oxide, which in turn signals blood vessels to relax, helping widen the arteries and increase circulation, bringing more oxygen to hardworking muscles. Sara Angle, Outside Online, "Athletes, Stock Up on This Powerhouse Summer Produce," 22 June 2018

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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Statistics for widen

Last Updated

20 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for widen

The first known use of widen was in 1566

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More Definitions for widen



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

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

Comments on widen

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


the range of authority or knowledge

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