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2017 Word of the Year

lessen

[les-uh n] /ˈlɛs ən/
verb (used without object)
1.
to become less.
verb (used with object)
2.
to make less; reduce.
3.
Archaic. to represent as less; depreciate; disparage.
Origin of lessen
late Middle English
1300-1350
1300-50; late Middle English lessenen, lasnen (see less, -en1); replacing Middle English lessen
Related forms
unlessened, adjective
Can be confused
lessen, lesson.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for lessen
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • You may think I say this to lessen your regard for the good woman.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • No, he could not—which admission did not lessen the glow on his cheek.

    Ester Ried Yet Speaking Isabella Alden
  • This increased his astonishment, and did not lessen the gloom on his face.

    Ester Ried Yet Speaking Isabella Alden
  • And that lurking vanity of the inferior to lessen his own inferiority did the rest.

    Roden's Corner Henry Seton Merriman
  • Suffice it that I have helped to lessen Kirk's horse by four of his rogues.

    Micah Clarke Arthur Conan Doyle
British Dictionary definitions for lessen

lessen

/ˈlɛsən/
verb
1.
to make or become less
2.
(transitive) to make little of
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 lessen
v.

"to become less," c.1300, from less + -en (1). Related: Lessened; lessening.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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6
8
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