straight·​en ˈstrā-tᵊn How to pronounce straighten (audio)
straightened; straightening ˈstrāt-niŋ How to pronounce straighten (audio)

transitive verb

: to make straight
usually used with up or out

intransitive verb

: to become straight
usually used with up or out
ˈstrāt-nər How to pronounce straighten (audio)

Example Sentences

He straightened the bent antenna. The drooping flowers straightened in the rain.
Recent Examples on the Web While the instructions were a bit vague at first, a few tutorial videos helped straighten everything out. Alyssa Brascia, Peoplemag, 3 Mar. 2023 With this laser leveler, any DIYer will be able to straighten anything in their sights. Mark Stock, Men's Health, 3 Dec. 2022 In other words, the harder the Browns try to straighten everything out, the more jumbled everything gets. Jim Ingraham, Forbes, 25 July 2022 Long before early 20th-century doctors began using metal braces to straighten their patients’ teeth, a French aristocrat named Anne d’Alègre devised a novel way of keeping her smile intact. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, 27 Jan. 2023 They’re commonly used to straighten the edge of a knife as it's gently dragged along the rod from heel to tip in a downward slicing motion. Ali Francis, Bon Appétit, 13 Nov. 2020 His advice on how best to create a graphic silhouette is to straighten the hair using BaByliss’s 9000 Cordless Straighteners. Hannah Coates, Vogue, 30 Dec. 2022 The goal of a silk press is to straighten the hair with the least amount of heat. Monique Wilson, Glamour, 28 Dec. 2022 These plates heat up to an optimal 365 degrees Fahrenheit to straighten and leave a silky-soft, glossy finish without burning your delicate hair. Jennifer Hussein, Allure, 26 Sep. 2022 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1542, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of straighten was in 1542

Dictionary Entries Near straighten

Cite this Entry

“Straighten.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


straight·​en ˈstrāt-ᵊn How to pronounce straighten (audio)
straightened; straightening ˈstrāt-niŋ How to pronounce straighten (audio)
: to make or become straight
usually used with up or out
straighten up a roomstraightened out the problem
ˈstrāt-nər How to pronounce straighten (audio)

More from Merriam-Webster on straighten

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

What Did You Just Call Me?

  • brown chihuahua sitting on the floor with squinting eyes looking at the camera
  • Before we went to her house, Hannah told us her aunt was a flibbertigibbet.
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?