[ les-uh n ]
/ ˈlɛs ən /

verb (used without object)

to become less.

verb (used with object)

to make less; reduce.
Archaic. to represent as less; depreciate; disparage.

Origin of lessen

1300–50; late Middle English lessenen, lasnen (see less, -en1); replacing Middle English lessen

Related forms

un·less·ened, adjective

Can be confused

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

Examples from the Web for lessen

British Dictionary definitions for lessen


/ (ˈlɛsən) /


to make or become less
(tr) to make little of
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