lighten

1 [lahyt-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:
1300–50; Middle English lightnen; see light1, -en1

lightener, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged

lighten

2 [lahyt-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


3. ease, lessen, reduce.


3. aggravate.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
lighten1 (ˈlaɪtən)
 
vb
1.  to become or make light
2.  (intr) to shine; glow
3.  (intr) (of lightning) to flash
4.  (tr) an archaic word for enlighten

lighten2 (ˈlaɪtən)
 
vb
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 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

lighten
verb from light (adj.). Of burdens, from late 14c.; in transferred general use from late 15c.

lighten
verb from light (n.). "To shed light upon," c.1300; "to grow brighter," late 14c. Of faces, expressions, etc., from 1795.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Of course, you could lighten your load if you decided to share.
Lighten your load on the planet with a more efficient dryer and greener
  detergent.
It works for me as a great in-between device that will lighten my load in many
  cases.
Some departments will need new faculty members in order to lighten the teaching
  load and still offer enough courses.
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