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lighten1

[lahyt-n] /ˈlaɪt n/
verb (used without object)
1.
to become lighter or less dark; brighten:
The sky lightened after the storm.
2.
to brighten or light up, as the eyes or features:
Her face lightened when she heard the good news.
3.
to flash as or like lightning (often used impersonally with it as subject):
It thundered and lightened for hours.
4.
Archaic. to shine, gleam, or be bright:
steel blades lightening in the sun.
verb (used with object)
5.
to give light to; illuminate:
A full moon lightened the road.
6.
to brighten (the eyes, features, etc.):
A large smile lightened his face.
7.
to make lighter or less dark:
Add white to lighten the paint.
8.
Obsolete. enlighten.
9.
Obsolete. to flash or emit like lightning (usually followed by out, forth, or down):
eyes that lightened forth implacable hatred.
Origin of lighten1
1300-1350
1300-50; Middle English lightnen; see light1, -en1
Related forms
lightener, noun

lighten2

[lahyt-n] /ˈlaɪt n/
verb (used with object)
1.
to make lighter in weight:
to lighten the load on a truck.
2.
to lessen the load of or upon:
to lighten a cargo ship.
3.
to make less burdensome or oppressive; alleviate; mitigate:
to lighten taxes; to lighten someone's cares.
4.
to cheer or gladden:
Such news lightens my heart.
verb (used without object)
5.
to become less severe, stringent, or harsh; ease up:
Border inspections have lightened recently.
6.
to become less heavy, cumbersome, burdensome, oppressive, etc.:
His worries seem to have lightened somewhat.
7.
to become less gloomy; perk up:
People's spirits usually lighten when spring arrives.
Origin
1350-1400; Middle English lightnen; see light2, -en1
Synonyms
3. ease, lessen, reduce.
Antonyms
3. aggravate.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for lighten
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But at that moment an inspiration came to lighten the gloom.

    The Bacillus of Beauty Harriet Stark
  • 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 Xenophon
  • He had done all that he could on the journey to lighten the labor of those attached to his own wagon.

  • That it might be able to lighten the burden of this self-imposed labour.

    The Hound From The North Ridgwell Cullum
British Dictionary definitions for lighten

lighten1

/ˈlaɪtən/
verb
1.
to become or make light
2.
(intransitive) to shine; glow
3.
(intransitive) (of lightning) to flash
4.
(transitive) an archaic word for enlighten

lighten2

/ˈlaɪtən/
verb
1.
to make or become less heavy
2.
to make or become less burdensome or oppressive; mitigate
3.
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
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Word Origin and History for lighten
v.1

"to make less heavy," figuratively "to make cheerful," mid-14c., from light (adj.1) + -en (1). Related: Lightened; lightening.

v.2

"shed light upon, illuminate, brighten," early 14c., from light (n.) -en (1). Meaning "to grow brighter" is late 14c. Of faces, expressions, etc., from 1795. Related: Lightened; lightening.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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11
13
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