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lighten1

[lahyt-n] /ˈlaɪt n/
verb (used without object)
1.
to become lighter or less dark; brighten:
The sky lightened after the storm.
2.
to brighten or light up, as the eyes or features:
Her face lightened when she heard the good news.
3.
to flash as or like lightning (often used impersonally with it as subject):
It thundered and lightened for hours.
4.
Archaic. to shine, gleam, or be bright:
steel blades lightening in the sun.
verb (used with object)
5.
to give light to; illuminate:
A full moon lightened the road.
6.
to brighten (the eyes, features, etc.):
A large smile lightened his face.
7.
to make lighter or less dark:
Add white to lighten the paint.
8.
Obsolete, enlighten.
9.
Obsolete. to flash or emit like lightning (usually followed by out, forth, or down):
eyes that lightened forth implacable hatred.
Origin of lighten1
1300-1350
1300-50; Middle English lightnen; see light1, -en1
Related forms
lightener, noun

lighten2

[lahyt-n] /ˈlaɪt n/
verb (used with object)
1.
to make lighter in weight:
to lighten the load on a truck.
2.
to lessen the load of or upon:
to lighten a cargo ship.
3.
to make less burdensome or oppressive; alleviate; mitigate:
to lighten taxes; to lighten someone's cares.
4.
to cheer or gladden:
Such news lightens my heart.
verb (used without object)
5.
to become less severe, stringent, or harsh; ease up:
Border inspections have lightened recently.
6.
to become less heavy, cumbersome, burdensome, oppressive, etc.:
His worries seem to have lightened somewhat.
7.
to become less gloomy; perk up:
People's spirits usually lighten when spring arrives.
Origin
1350-1400; Middle English lightnen; see light2, -en1
Synonyms
3. ease, lessen, reduce.
Antonyms
3. aggravate.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for lighten
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In such cases the women and men generously did all in their power to lighten the burden of the new mothers.

    Khartoum Campaign, 1898 Bennet Burleigh
  • He had done all that he could on the journey to lighten the labor of those attached to his own wagon.

  • Because of his refusal to lighten the heavy taxes, ten tribes revolted and established a kingdom under Jeroboam.

    Training the Teacher A. F. Schauffler
  • Perhaps together we might lighten the weight of it a little.

    The Memorabilia Xenophon
  • The evening meal at eight was never more than our high tea, the object of this system being to lighten domestic service.

    The Woman Who Vowed Ellison Harding
British Dictionary definitions for lighten

lighten1

/ˈlaɪtən/
verb
1.
to become or make light
2.
(intransitive) to shine; glow
3.
(intransitive) (of lightning) to flash
4.
(transitive) an archaic word for enlighten

lighten2

/ˈlaɪtən/
verb
1.
to make or become less heavy
2.
to make or become less burdensome or oppressive; mitigate
3.
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
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Word Origin and History for lighten
v.

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

"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
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11
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