[les-uh n]

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 formsun·less·ened, adjective
Can be confusedlessen lesson
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for lessened

Contemporary Examples of lessened

Historical Examples of lessened

  • Its excitement was not lessened when he recognized Hamish Channing.

    The Channings

    Mrs. Henry Wood

  • And yet, since Peppina had been on the island the peace of the life there had been lessened.

    A Spirit in Prison

    Robert Hichens

  • His reluctance, his sense of fear, were lessened, nearly died away.

    A Spirit in Prison

    Robert Hichens

  • The heat did not seem to have lessened much with the going down of the sun.

    The Forbidden Trail

    Honor Willsie

  • "I think Mr. Parasyte's conduct has lessened it," said Vallington.

    Breaking Away

    Oliver Optic

British Dictionary definitions for lessened



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

Word Origin and History for lessened



"to become less," c.1300, from less + -en (1). Related: Lessened; lessening.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper