Synonym Chooser

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

Thesaurus Entries Near lessen

Cite this Entry

“Lessen.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/lessen. Accessed 12 Apr. 2024.

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