[les-uh n]
See more synonyms for lessen on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object)
  1. to make less; reduce.
  2. 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. 2018

Examples from the Web for lessening

Contemporary Examples of lessening

Historical Examples of lessening

  • There was no lessening of the expression of certainty on the young man's face.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • There was no lessening of the bride's composure as she replied, with a little shrug.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • I never thought of lessening the distance betwixt us, I am sure.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • It will, in fact, rather accomplish the opposite, apart from lessening employment.

    War Taxation

    Otto H. Kahn

  • And ever, it seemed to me from the answers that I got, was I lessening the distance that separated us.

    The Strolling Saint

    Raphael Sabatini

British Dictionary definitions for lessening


  1. to make or become less
  2. (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 lessening



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper