wid·​en | \ˈwī-dᵊn \
widened; widening\ˈwīd-​niŋ, 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, 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

The new valve enters through the old one and expands, widening it from the size of a pen to the size of a penny. Maria Elena Vizcaino, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Puerto Rican evacuee is 100th patient for new procedure at Osceola Regional: 'Now I can live longer'," 3 July 2018 That’s when a judge will weigh whether to extend a temporary restraining order Sue obtained against Bill on June 14, and to widen it to protect her sisters and other relatives. Michael Hiltzik, latimes.com, "Vandalized homes, spying, a knife and restraining orders: Inside a billionaire couple's nightmarish divorce," 20 June 2018 That mirrored the Trump administration's announcement Friday of a tariff hike on $34 billion of Chinese goods, also due to take effect July 6, and plans to consider widening it to an additional $16 billion of other products. Joe Mcdonald, chicagotribune.com, "China hikes tariffs on U.S. soybeans, electric cars, fish," 15 June 2018 The election to replace Abrahamson in April 2019 will determine whether conservatives hold that margin or widen it to 5-2. Bill Glauber, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Shirley Abrahamson won't seek another term, setting up race for Wisconsin high court seat," 30 May 2018 Analysts expect the deficit to continue to widen in the coming months. Sharon Nunn, WSJ, "U.S. Goods Imports and Trade Deficit With China Hit New Records," 2 Nov. 2018 The rift soon widened to broader cultural and political issues separating Northern Ireland's British unionists and Irish nationalists, and attempts to restore the government have stalled. Fox News, "Protests planned as N Ireland matches no-government record," 28 Aug. 2018 With the additional votes, Olszewski’s margin has widened slightly to 12 votes. Pamela Wood, baltimoresun.com, "Baltimore County election recount continues Saturday," 14 July 2018 McGinnis Ferry is to be widened from one to two lanes in each direction from Sargent Road to Union Hill Road/Ronald Reagan Boulevard, a distance of about 4.6 miles. David Ibata, ajc, "Alpharetta OKs $4M for McGinnis Ferry widening," 3 May 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

11 Dec 2018

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 \
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

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living or existing for a long time

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