Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know


[les-uh n] /ˈlɛs ən/
verb (used without object)
to become less.
verb (used with object)
to make less; reduce.
Archaic. to represent as less; depreciate; disparage.
Origin of lessen
late Middle English
1300-50; late Middle English lessenen, lasnen (see less, -en1); replacing Middle English lessen
Related forms
unlessened, adjective
Can be confused
lessen, lesson. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for lessening
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Jane's money was lessening, but none of Lola's wishes had as yet been baffled.

    A Prairie Infanta Eva Wilder Brodhead
  • The wind was dying and the rain was lessening with each fitful gust.

    A Tar-Heel Baron Mabell Shippie Clarke Pelton
  • Was it by lessening his wife's esteem for him that he could reassure her?

    On Compromise John Morley
  • This could mean but one thing, the lessening of care in every department.

    The Tapestry Book Helen Churchill Candee
  • Clear out less desirable sorts, lessening the struggle for your favourites.

  • The verdict of the specialists brought no lessening of the strain.

    The Love Affairs of Pixie Mrs George de Horne Vaizey
  • Have a kitchen where you can do something toward the reformation of evil cookery and the lessening of this nation of dyspeptics.

    The Wedding Ring T. De Witt Talmage
  • And ever, it seemed to me from the answers that I got, was I lessening the distance that separated us.

    The Strolling Saint Raphael Sabatini
British Dictionary definitions for lessening


to make or become less
(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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for lessening



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for lessen

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for lessening

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for lessening