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 If the pipeline outage lingers, the price spread between the East Coast and Gulf Coast will widen, unleashing all sorts of market responses that are difficult to predict but will be aimed at capturing the arbitrage value that emerges. Baker Institute, Forbes, "The Colonial Pipeline Outage: An Important Lesson For US Energy Security," 11 May 2021 But the costs of inaction will further widen the economic divide. Washington Post, "Biden just recited his wish list for struggling American families. Now he has to deliver.," 30 Apr. 2021 The gap will widen to $14.5 billion over the next decade without action. Christen Smith, Washington Examiner, "PennDOT says proposed interstate bridge tolls ‘not permanent’," 28 Apr. 2021 But when it's inflated, walls widen, and a roof snaps into place. Max G. Levy, Wired, "This Human-Sized Origami Reimagines Emergency Shelters," 27 Apr. 2021 In one of the most worrying signs, the IMF projects the income gap between sub-Saharan Africa and the rest of the world, measured by GDP per capita, will widen significantly in the coming years. Carlos Mureithi, Quartz, "One of the biggest challenges facing sub-Saharan Africa this year, in one chart," 26 Apr. 2021 Better technologies should widen the range of strategic moves. Dickon Pinner, Fortune, "Time is running out for business leaders who don’t have a ‘net zero’ strategy," 22 Apr. 2021 Construction crews will widen and resurface those interchanges, which will cost $75 million. Wells Dusenbury, sun-sentinel.com, "I-95 construction is going to make you scream for years," 19 Apr. 2021 Biden’s tax plan would also further widen the gap between corporations and their pass-through competitors. Travis Nix, National Review, "Biden’s Tax Plan Will Destroy American Jobs," 13 Apr. 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

13 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Widen.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/widen. Accessed 16 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.

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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