- 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 lightened
The mood was lightened considerably by the co-hosts of the podcast “Mom and Dad Are Fighting.”Want Blue Eyes With That Baby?: The Strange New World of Human Reproduction
November 24, 2014
Mitt Romney, the serious businessman known for his sober campaign style, has lightened up.CPAC: Mitt Romney Tries Mockery
February 10, 2011
The Obama voters were significantly more likely to claim that the lightened photo was the real one.Harry Reid Was Right
January 10, 2010
The rare loveliness of the scene touched and lightened my heart.Green Mansions
W. H. Hudson
By this time the squall had passed, and it lightened up a little.
It rained as if the flood-gates of heaven were opened, and it lightened awfully.
They were soon quite intimate, and lightened the way with a variety of conversation.Little Dorrit
He has lightened the burden of thought because he has shown us that the chains which we wear are of our own forging.Sophist
- 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 lightened
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper