[ lengk-thuhn, leng-, len- ]
/ ˈlɛŋk θən, ˈlɛŋ-, ˈlɛn- /

verb (used with object)

to make longer; make greater in length.

verb (used without object)

to become greater in length; grow long or longer.

Origin of lengthen

First recorded in 1490–1500; length + -en1


1 elongate, draw out. Lengthen, extend, stretch, prolong, protract agree in the idea of making longer. To lengthen is to make longer, either in a material or an immaterial sense: to lengthen a dress. To extend is to lengthen beyond some original point or so as to reach a certain point: to extend a railway line by a hundred miles. To stretch is primarily to lengthen by drawing or tension: to stretch a rubber band. Both prolong and protract mean especially to lengthen in time, and therefore apply to intangibles. To prolong is to continue beyond the desired, estimated, or allotted time: to prolong an interview. To protract is to draw out to undue length or to be slow in coming to a conclusion: to protract a discussion.


length·en·er, nounout·length·en, verb (used with object)un·length·ened, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for lengthen

British Dictionary definitions for lengthen

/ (ˈlɛŋkθən, ˈlɛŋθən) /


to make or become longer

Derived forms of lengthen

lengthener, 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