bright·​en ˈbrī-tᵊn How to pronounce brighten (audio)
brightened; brightening ˈbrīt-niŋ How to pronounce brighten (audio)

transitive verb

: to make bright or brighter
you brightened my day
: to enhance or intensify the flavor of (food) especially by adding an acidic element (such as citrus juice or vinegar)
Crisp lemon slices brighten smoky bacon and rosemary-infused trout.Melissa Roberts-Matar
ˈbrīt-nər How to pronounce brighten (audio)

Example Sentences

He brightened the picture on the television. Flowers can brighten any room. The good news brightened her mood. The sky brightened after the storm. Business prospects brightened last month. Her face brightened in relief when she heard that he was not hurt. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Antioxidants help smooth and brighten the skin while protecting from free radicals and environmental stressors. Talia Ergas, Travel + Leisure, 13 Mar. 2023 Founded by Desiree Verdejo, Hyper Skin uses clean, good-for-you ingredients to target dark spots and marks, and brighten the skin. Nerisha Penrose, ELLE, 8 Mar. 2023 Made with hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and niacinamide, the best-selling eye cream is designed to hydrate and brighten your skin. Isabel Garcia, Peoplemag, 10 Feb. 2023 The for dark circles can do more than just brighten your skin. Women's Health, 8 Feb. 2023 Instagram-worthy and entirely fun, Le Petit Chef is an incredible experience to brighten and shake up your normal nighttime eating routine. Wendy Altschuler, Forbes, 26 Jan. 2023 If dullness is your main concern, the Vichy LiftActiv Vitamin C Brightening Face Serum utilizes its star ingredient to brighten and even skin tone. Jennifer Hussein, Allure, 6 Jan. 2023 The contrasting pastel colors will easily brighten up any room and the airy feathers gently move with each step. Minna Shim, Harper's BAZAAR, 20 Dec. 2022 Ideal to heal stressed skin, add this into your routine to not only calm and soothe, but also brighten your complexion and protect against free radical damage. Kiana Murden, Vogue, 23 Aug. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'brighten.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of brighten was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near brighten

Cite this Entry

“Brighten.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


bright·​en ˈbrīt-ᵊn How to pronounce brighten (audio)
brightened; brightening ˈbrīt-niŋ How to pronounce brighten (audio)
: to make or become bright or brighter

More from Merriam-Webster on brighten

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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