wid·​en | \ ˈwī-dᵊn How to pronounce widen (audio) \
widened; widening\ ˈwīd-​niŋ How to pronounce widen (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 widen (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 Eventually the eradicators decided to widen their surveillance network further, by offering a reward to anyone who reported a smallpox case. New York Times, "How Humanity Gave Itself an Extra Life," 27 Apr. 2021 Among the first states to widen eligibility were Alaska, Mississippi, Texas, West Virginia, Ohio and Utah. Cheyenne Haslett, ABC News, "As states open up eligibility, the 1st big test of America's vaccine hesitancy," 1 Apr. 2021 Nsekhe is also effective on kick-out and hinge blocks, as his length and powerful hands enable him to widen edge defenders on the outside. John Owning, Dallas News, "Film room: How free-agent signee Ty Nsekhe fits with Cowboys, and why he’s an instant upgrade at backup OT," 16 Mar. 2021 In late July, the Kaiser Family Foundation released research that warned growing Covid-19 hotspots in the South and West at the time would likely widen disparities for people of color. Stephanie Elam, CNN, "Why Latinos in California are being hit hard by Covid-19," 3 Sep. 2020 Arizona has an opportunity to widen its lead Wednesday as the Sharks don’t play again until Friday. Ross Mckeon, San Francisco Chronicle, "Sharks squander opportunity in 5-1 loss to last-place Anaheim," 6 Apr. 2021 Diggins placed third in the finals to widen her lead in the overall standings. Anchorage Daily News, "3 Alaska skiers advance to quarterfinals at World Cup sprint race and Diggins gets another podium finish," 7 Feb. 2021 It’s the latest effort to widen the vaccination campaign. Marc Bona, cleveland, "Bars cited, Playhouse Square sets show, some events back on, vaccine news, more - coronavirus timeline March 13-19," 20 Mar. 2021 Biden’s decision to attack in Syria did not appear to signal an intention to widen U.S. military involvement in the region but rather to demonstrate a will to defend U.S. troops in Iraq. Lolita C. Baldor And Robert Burns, chicagotribune.com, "US launches airstrikes in Syria, targets facilities used by Iran-backed militia," 26 Feb. 2021

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

1 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Widen.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/widen. Accessed 8 May. 2021.

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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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for widen

Nglish: Translation of widen for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of widen for Arabic Speakers

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