verb (1)

Synonyms & Antonyms of lighten

(Entry 1 of 2)

to become glad or hopeful
  • the patient lightened when he heard the disease responds well to treatment

Synonyms for lighten

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Antonyms for lighten


verb (2)

Synonyms & Antonyms of lighten (Entry 2 of 2)

to supply with light
  • the room was gradually lightened by the rising sun

Synonyms for lighten

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Antonyms for lighten

See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About lighten

How is the word lighten different from other verbs like it?

Some common synonyms of lighten are allay, alleviate, assuage, mitigate, and relieve. While all these words mean "to make something less grievous," lighten implies reducing a burdensome or depressing weight.

good news would lighten our worries

When can allay be used instead of lighten?

The meanings of allay and lighten largely overlap; however, allay implies an effective calming or soothing of fears or alarms.

allayed their fears

Where would alleviate be a reasonable alternative to lighten?

The words alleviate and lighten can be used in similar contexts, but alleviate implies temporary or partial lessening of pain or distress.

the lotion alleviated the itching

In what contexts can assuage take the place of lighten?

The synonyms assuage and lighten are sometimes interchangeable, but assuage implies softening or sweetening what is harsh or disagreeable.

ocean breezes assuaged the intense heat

When would mitigate be a good substitute for lighten?

While in some cases nearly identical to lighten, mitigate suggests a moderating or countering of the effect of something violent or painful.

the need to mitigate barbaric laws

When is relieve a more appropriate choice than lighten?

The words relieve and lighten are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, relieve implies a lifting of enough of a burden to make it tolerable.

took an aspirin to relieve the pain

Learn More About lighten

Time Traveler for lighten

Time Traveler

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

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Thesaurus Entries Near lighten

light bulbs



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Cite this Entry

“Lighten.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jan. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on lighten

Nglish: Translation of lighten for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lighten for Arabic Speakers


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