"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[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
late Middle English
1300-50; late Middle English lessenen, lasnen (see less, -en1); replacing Middle English lessen
Related forms
unlessened, adjective
Can be confused
lessen, lesson. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for lessen
  • It should lessen the impact of the tax on new construction and result in refunds for developers who already have made payments.
  • The wake of the affair will be a long one and no doubt in time its effects will lessen.
  • Higher pay would lessen the temptations of corruption.
  • The team relied on special systems to lessen the risks of such extreme diving.
  • The skill of the forensic anthropologist cannot lessen the anguish of loss, but it can lessen the anguish of doubt.
  • The new grief-counseling industry tries to help lessen the pain of loss.
  • And the university hopes the buzz from lowering its price will lessen the amount of merit aid needed to attract top students.
  • And to lessen the burden for employers, pensions will no longer have to be indexed directly to inflation.
  • Log on here to learn about some of those impacts and steps being taken to lessen the damage.
  • It is a real amazing way to sort of lessen a wars bad name.
British Dictionary definitions for lessen


to make or become less
(transitive) 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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for lessen

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for lessen

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for lessen

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with lessen