lighten

1
[lahyt-n]

verb (used without object)

verb (used with object)


Origin of lighten

1
1300–50; Middle English lightnen; see light1, -en1
Related formslight·en·er, noun

lighten

2
[lahyt-n]

verb (used with object)

to make lighter in weight: to lighten the load on a truck.
to lessen the load of or upon: to lighten a cargo ship.
to make less burdensome or oppressive; alleviate; mitigate: to lighten taxes; to lighten someone's cares.
to cheer or gladden: Such news lightens my heart.

verb (used without object)

to become less severe, stringent, or harsh; ease up: Border inspections have lightened recently.
to become less heavy, cumbersome, burdensome, oppressive, etc.: His worries seem to have lightened somewhat.
to become less gloomy; perk up: People's spirits usually lighten when spring arrives.

Origin of lighten

2
1350–1400; Middle English lightnen; see light2, -en1

Synonyms for lighten

Antonyms for lighten

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


Examples from the Web for lighten

Contemporary Examples of lighten

Historical Examples of lighten

  • But at that moment an inspiration came to lighten the gloom.

  • After a short consultation it was determined to lighten the ship.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • Perhaps together we might lighten the weight of it a little.

  • He had done all that he could on the journey to lighten the labor of those attached to his own wagon.

  • That it might be able to lighten the burden of this self-imposed labour.


British Dictionary definitions for lighten

lighten

1

verb

to become or make light
(intr) to shine; glow
(intr) (of lightning) to flash
(tr) an archaic word for enlighten

lighten

2

verb

to make or become less heavy
to make or become less burdensome or oppressive; mitigate
to make or become more cheerful or lively
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 lighten
v.1

"to make less heavy," figuratively "to make cheerful," mid-14c., from light (adj.1) + -en (1). Related: Lightened; lightening.

v.2

"shed light upon, illuminate, brighten," early 14c., from light (n.) -en (1). Meaning "to grow brighter" is late 14c. Of faces, expressions, etc., from 1795. Related: Lightened; lightening.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper