• synonyms


[fresh-uh n]
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verb (used with object)
  1. to make fresh; refresh, revive, or renew: We need a good rain to freshen the flowers.
  2. to remove saltiness from.
  3. Nautical. to preserve (a rope in use) from prolonged friction or concentrated stress on any one part.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to become or grow fresh.
  2. (of a cow)
    1. to commence giving milk after calving.
    2. to give birth.
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Verb Phrases
  1. freshen up, to make oneself feel freshly clean or neat, as by washing, changing clothes, etc.: to freshen up after a long trip.
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Origin of freshen

First recorded in 1690–1700; fresh + -en1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for freshen

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • So go and freshen yourself up, Amy; go and freshen yourself up, like a good girl.'

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • Every once in a while I have to be transplanted so's to freshen up.

    Kent Knowles: Quahaug

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • I spread my clothing about the room to freshen it after its long confinement.

  • Another hour elapsed, and the wind continued to freshen, and the sea to rise.

    Little By Little

    William Taylor Adams

  • But we shall be in the sea breeze again soon, and that will freshen you, dear.'

British Dictionary definitions for freshen


  1. to make or become fresh or fresher
  2. (often foll by up) to refresh (oneself), esp by washing
  3. (intr) (of the wind) to increase
  4. to lose or cause to lose saltiness
  5. (intr) mainly US
    1. (of farm animals) to give birth
    2. (of cows) to commence giving milk after calving
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Derived Formsfreshener, 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 freshen


1690s, from fresh (adj.1) + -en (1). Related: Freshened; freshening. To freshen a drink, "top it off" is from 1961. The earlier verb was simply fresh (mid-14c.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper