[lengk-thuhn, leng-, len-]

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
Related formslength·en·er, nounout·length·en, verb (used with object)un·length·ened, adjective

Synonyms for lengthen

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.

Antonyms for lengthen

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for lengthen

Contemporary Examples of lengthen

Historical Examples of lengthen

  • Can they prolong their own possession, or lengthen his days who enjoys them?

  • The life of peace is that which men should chiefly desire to lengthen out and improve.



  • Sweet as parting is, I protest I, for one, would not lengthen it until to-morrow.

    Molly Bawn

    Margaret Wolfe Hamilton

  • The campaign promised to lengthen into a month, perhaps longer.

    Wayside Courtships

    Hamlin Garland

  • The campaign promised to lengthen into a month—perhaps longer.

British Dictionary definitions for lengthen



to make or become longer
Derived Formslengthener, 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 lengthen

late 14c., from length + -en (1). Related: Lengthened; lengthening. Earlier verb was simply length (c.1300).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper