Thesaurus

lessen

verb

Synonyms & Antonyms of lessen

1 to make smaller in amount, volume, or extent
  • we lessened our efforts as it became clear they weren't having an effect

Synonyms for lessen

Words Related to lessen

Near Antonyms for lessen

Antonyms for lessen

3 to lower in character, dignity, or quality
  • blatant hypocrisy that lessened him in the eyes of the voters

Synonyms for lessen

Words Related to lessen

Near Antonyms for lessen

Antonyms for lessen

See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About lessen

How does the verb lessen differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of lessen are abate, decrease, diminish, dwindle, and reduce. While all these words mean "to grow or make less," lessen suggests a decline in amount rather than in number.

has been unable to lessen her debt

When can abate be used instead of lessen?

The meanings of abate and lessen largely overlap; however, abate implies a reducing of something excessive or oppressive in force or amount.

the storm abated

When is decrease a more appropriate choice than lessen?

The words decrease and lessen are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, decrease suggests a progressive decline in size, amount, numbers, or intensity.

slowly decreased the amount of pressure

In what contexts can diminish take the place of lessen?

Although the words diminish and lessen have much in common, diminish emphasizes a perceptible loss and implies its subtraction from a total.

his visual acuity has diminished

Where would dwindle be a reasonable alternative to lessen?

While the synonyms dwindle and lessen are close in meaning, dwindle implies progressive lessening and is applied to things growing visibly smaller.

their provisions dwindled slowly

When might reduce be a better fit than lessen?

The words reduce and lessen can be used in similar contexts, but reduce implies a bringing down or lowering.

you must reduce your caloric intake

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about lessen

Time Traveler for lessen

Time Traveler

The first known use of lessen was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Cite this Entry

“Lessen.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/lessen. Accessed 25 Feb. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on lessen

Dictionary: Definition of lessen

Nglish: Translation of lessen for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lessen for Arabic Speakers

Comments on lessen

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!