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7 Essential Words of Fall

lightening

[lahyt-n-ing] /ˈlaɪt n ɪŋ/
noun, Medicine/Medical
1.
the descent of the uterus into the pelvic cavity, occurring toward the end of pregnancy, changing the contour of the abdomen and facilitating breathing by lessening pressure under the diaphragm.
Origin
1520-1530
1520-30; lighten2 + -ing1
Can be confused
lightening, lightning.

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
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. 2014.
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Examples from the web for lightening
  • The air felt balmy and fresh, nothing but dark blue calm sea and lightening sky.
  • Clouds, farm building, lightening and wheat capture the mood.
  • It goes far in lightening the mood of the whole house.
  • Ionizing radiation from lightening storms may be possible.
  • So the beauty scientists came up with a whole new chemistry for getting the lightening molecules inside the hair.
  • The goal is to increase the chances that students will succeed, and for the majority of them that means lightening the load.
  • Instead, private space ventures have focused on lightening the payload and rocket and on increasing reliability.
  • Over-the-counter creams are available for lightening the skin.
  • Restaurants and food companies are lightening recipes and portion sizes.
  • But she asked committee members to lobby for a lightening of the residency requirement.
British Dictionary definitions for lightening

lightening

/ˈlaɪtənɪŋ/
noun
1.
(obstetrics) the sensation, experienced by many women late in pregnancy when the head of the fetus enters the pelvis, of a reduction in pressure on the diaphragm, making it easier to breathe

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 lightening
n.

"the shedding of light," mid-14c., verbal noun from lighten (v.2). Meaning "alleviation of weight" (literal and figurative) is from 1520s, from lighten (v.1).

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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lightening in Medicine

lightening light·en·ing (līt'n-ĭng)
n.
The sensation of decreased abdominal distention during the latter weeks of pregnancy following the descent of the fetal head into the pelvic inlet.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Difficulty index for lightening

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for lightening

15
19
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