- to become lighter or less dark; brighten: The sky lightened after the storm.
- to brighten or light up, as the eyes or features: Her face lightened when she heard the good news.
- to flash as or like lightning (often used impersonally with it as subject): It thundered and lightened for hours.
- Archaic. to shine, gleam, or be bright: steel blades lightening in the sun.
- to give light to; illuminate: A full moon lightened the road.
- to brighten (the eyes, features, etc.): A large smile lightened his face.
- to make lighter or less dark: Add white to lighten the paint.
- Obsolete. enlighten.
- Obsolete. to flash or emit like lightning (usually followed by out, forth, or down): eyes that lightened forth implacable hatred.
Origin of lighten1
- to make lighter in weight: to lighten the load on a truck.
- to lessen the load of or upon: to lighten a cargo ship.
- to make less burdensome or oppressive; alleviate; mitigate: to lighten taxes; to lighten someone's cares.
- to cheer or gladden: Such news lightens my heart.
- to become less severe, stringent, or harsh; ease up: Border inspections have lightened recently.
- to become less heavy, cumbersome, burdensome, oppressive, etc.: His worries seem to have lightened somewhat.
- to become less gloomy; perk up: People's spirits usually lighten when spring arrives.
Origin of lighten2
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
3. ease, lessen, reduce.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for lighten
Doane tweeted, “the film does make fun of Wannabe Berean unimaginative Christians who need to lighten up.”Kirk Cameron Saves Christmas from Abominable Killjoys (Other Christians)
November 14, 2014
Jazz lovers who had taken exception to the previous bashing were told to lighten up, and stop complaining.What’s With This Uncool Surge in Jazz Bashing?
November 2, 2014
As mourning time progressed and the emotional strain began to subside, the black hues began to lighten.The Best-Dressed Way to Say Goodbye
October 21, 2014
“That sound is a requirement for renting a car in Costa Rica,” Mugianis jokes to lighten the mood.Hallucinating Away a Heroin Addiction
May 4, 2014
Of course, I am aware that this is a simply a video game and critics would say I should lighten up.Most Young Gamers Unfit For Call of Duty
October 8, 2013
But at that moment an inspiration came to lighten the gloom.The Bacillus of Beauty
After a short consultation it was determined to lighten the ship.Ned Myers
James Fenimore Cooper
Perhaps together we might lighten the weight of it a little.The Memorabilia
He had done all that he could on the journey to lighten the labor of those attached to his own wagon.Si Klegg, Book 5 (of 6)
That it might be able to lighten the burden of this self-imposed labour.The Hound From The North
- to become or make light
- (intr) to shine; glow
- (intr) (of lightning) to flash
- (tr) an archaic word for enlighten
- to make or become less heavy
- to make or become less burdensome or oppressive; mitigate
- to make or become more cheerful or lively
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
Word Origin and History for lighten
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper