Try Our Apps


Words You've Been Using Wrong


[lengk-thuh n, leng-, len-] /ˈlɛŋk θən, ˈlɛŋ-, ˈlɛn-/
verb (used with object)
to make longer; make greater in length.
verb (used without object)
to become greater in length; grow long or longer.
Origin of lengthen
First recorded in 1490-1500; length + -en1
Related forms
lengthener, noun
outlengthen, verb (used with object)
unlengthened, adjective
1. elongate, draw out. Lengthen, extend, stretch, prolong, protract agree in the idea of making longer. To lengthen is to make longer, either in a material or an immaterial sense: to lengthen a dress. To extend is to lengthen beyond some original point or so as to reach a certain point: to extend a railway line by a hundred miles. To stretch is primarily to lengthen by drawing or tension: to stretch a rubber band. Both prolong and protract mean especially to lengthen in time, and therefore apply to intangibles. To prolong is to continue beyond the desired, estimated, or allotted time: to prolong an interview. To protract is to draw out to undue length or to be slow in coming to a conclusion: to protract a discussion.
1. shorten. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for lengthen
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Can they prolong their own possession, or lengthen his days who enjoys them?

    Joseph Andrews, Vol. 2 Henry Fielding
  • The life of peace is that which men should chiefly desire to lengthen out and improve.

    Laws Plato
  • Sweet as parting is, I protest I, for one, would not lengthen it until to-morrow.

    Molly Bawn Margaret Wolfe Hamilton
  • The campaign promised to lengthen into a month, perhaps longer.

    Wayside Courtships Hamlin Garland
  • The campaign promised to lengthen into a month—perhaps longer.

  • Honest, you could almost watch him lengthen out and fill in.

    Torchy As A Pa Sewell Ford
  • The shadows began to lengthen; and there was still no sight of a river.

  • Better that life should end than lengthen out to witness a decline from this apex.

    The Sign of the Spider Bertram Mitford
British Dictionary definitions for lengthen


/ˈlɛŋkθən; ˈlɛŋθən/
to make or become longer
Derived Forms
lengthener, 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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for lengthen

late 14c., from length + -en (1). Related: Lengthened; lengthening. Earlier verb was simply length (c.1300).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for lengthen

Word Value for lengthen

Scrabble Words With Friends