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[fresh-uh n] /ˈfrɛʃ ən/
verb (used with object)
to make fresh; refresh, revive, or renew:
We need a good rain to freshen the flowers.
to remove saltiness from.
Nautical. to preserve (a rope in use) from prolonged friction or concentrated stress on any one part.
verb (used without object)
to become or grow fresh.
  1. to commence giving milk after calving.
  2. to give birth.
Verb phrases
freshen up, to make oneself feel freshly clean or neat, as by washing, changing clothes, etc.:
to freshen up after a long trip.
Origin of freshen
1690-1700; fresh + -en1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for freshen
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Then, punching his pillow to freshen it up, he turned over and tried his best to drop off.

    The Rover Boys Under Canvas Arthur M. Winfield
  • But we shall be in the sea breeze again soon, and that will freshen you, dear.'

    A Pair of Blue Eyes Thomas Hardy
  • Ames looked as if he had been traveling all night and had not had a chance to freshen himself up in his haste.

    The Social Gangster Arthur B. Reeve
  • At the edge of town the team was halted to freshen them up for the finish.

    Watch Yourself Go By Al. G. Field
  • Whenever she leaves her nest she makes three or four rapid circles around the spot to freshen her memory of the locality.

    Wasps George W. Peckham
  • The wind began to freshen from the north-west, and at six o'clock we had all sail on her.

    Up the River Oliver Optic
  • To freshen black taffeta or satin, sponge with a cupful of strong tea to which a little ammonia has been added.

British Dictionary definitions for freshen


to make or become fresh or fresher
(often foll by up) to refresh (oneself), esp by washing
(intransitive) (of the wind) to increase
to lose or cause to lose saltiness
(intransitive) (mainly US)
  1. (of farm animals) to give birth
  2. (of cows) to commence giving milk after calving
Derived Forms
freshener, 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
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Word Origin and History for freshen

1690s, from fresh (adj.1) + -en (1). Related: Freshened; freshening. To freshen a drink, "top it off" is from 1961. The earlier verb was simply fresh (mid-14c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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