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[fresh-uh n] /ˈfrɛʃ ən/
verb (used with object)
to make fresh; refresh, revive, or renew:
We need a good rain to freshen the flowers.
to remove saltiness from.
Nautical. to preserve (a rope in use) from prolonged friction or concentrated stress on any one part.
verb (used without object)
to become or grow fresh.
  1. to commence giving milk after calving.
  2. to give birth.
Verb phrases
freshen up, to make oneself feel freshly clean or neat, as by washing, changing clothes, etc.:
to freshen up after a long trip.
Origin of freshen
First recorded in 1690-1700; fresh + -en1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for freshen
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • So go and freshen yourself up, Amy; go and freshen yourself up, like a good girl.'

    Little Dorrit Charles Dickens
  • Every once in a while I have to be transplanted so's to freshen up.

    Kent Knowles: Quahaug Joseph C. Lincoln
  • I spread my clothing about the room to freshen it after its long confinement.

    The Romance Of Giovanni Calvotti David Christie Murray
  • Another hour elapsed, and the wind continued to freshen, and the sea to rise.

    Little By Little William Taylor Adams
  • But we shall be in the sea breeze again soon, and that will freshen you, dear.'

    A Pair of Blue Eyes Thomas Hardy
  • However, I think we shall do, if the wind does not freshen again.

    A Final Reckoning G. A. Henty
  • At the edge of town the team was halted to freshen them up for the finish.

    Watch Yourself Go By Al. G. Field
British Dictionary definitions for freshen


to make or become fresh or fresher
(often foll by up) to refresh (oneself), esp by washing
(intransitive) (of the wind) to increase
to lose or cause to lose saltiness
(intransitive) (mainly US)
  1. (of farm animals) to give birth
  2. (of cows) to commence giving milk after calving
Derived Forms
freshener, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for freshen

1690s, from fresh (adj.1) + -en (1). Related: Freshened; freshening. To freshen a drink, "top it off" is from 1961. The earlier verb was simply fresh (mid-14c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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