verb (used with or without object)

to become or make bright or brighter.

Origin of brighten

First recorded in 1250–1300, brighten is from the Middle English word brightnen. See bright, -en1
Related formsre·bright·en, verbun·bright·ened, adjective

Synonyms for brighten

Antonyms for brighten Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for brighten

Contemporary Examples of brighten

Historical Examples of brighten

  • "Brighten your lovely features with a smile, Katherine me dear," she said gaily.

    Her Father's Daughter

    Gene Stratton-Porter

  • Why should they brighten their tomahawks and sharpen their knives against each other?

    The Last of the Mohicans

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • It looked grave and bare, with not even a flower in a vase to brighten it.

  • The face over which my lover bent did not brighten; nor the eyes recognize him.

    The First Violin

    Jessie Fothergill

  • Wash the dripping-pan in hot water with soda in it, and rub it with sand to brighten it.

    The Skilful Cook

    Mary Harrison

British Dictionary definitions for brighten



to make or become bright or brighter
to make or become cheerful
Derived Formsbrightener, noun
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 brighten

Old English *beorhtnian "to make bright" (see bright (adj.) + -en (1)). Intransitive sense, "to become brighter," attested from c.1300. Figurative use from 1590s. Related: Brightened; brightening.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper