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From bright +‎ -en.



brighten (third-person singular simple present brightens, present participle brightening, simple past and past participle brightened)

  1. (transitive) To make bright or brighter in color.
    We brightened the room with a new coat of paint.
  2. (transitive) To make illustrious, or more distinguished; to add luster or splendor to
    • 1709, [Jonathan Swift], A Project for the Advancement of Religion, and the Reformation of Manners. [], London: [] Benj[amin] Tooke, [], OCLC 220146796, pages 58–59:
      The preſent Queen is a Prince of as many and great Virtues as ever filled a Throne: How would it brighten Her Character to the preſent and after Ages, if She would exert Her utmoſt Authority to inſtill ſome Share of thoſe Virtues into Her People, which they are too degenerate to learn only from Her Example.
  3. (transitive, figuratively) To make more cheerful and pleasant; to enliven
    to brighten one's prospects;  Having Mark around the place really brightens things up.
    • 1712, Ambrose Philips, The Distrest Mother
      An Ecstasie, which Mothers only feel, / Plays round my heart and brightens up my sorrow.
  4. (intransitive) To grow bright, or more bright in color; to clear up
    The sun starts to brighten around this time of the year.  The sky brightened as the storm moved on.
  5. (intransitive) To become brighter or more cheerful in mood
    She brightened when I changed the subject.
    • 1913, Mrs. [Marie] Belloc Lowndes, chapter II, in The Lodger, London: Methuen, OCLC 7780546; republished in Novels of Mystery: The Lodger; The Story of Ivy; What Really Happened, New York, N.Y.: Longmans, Green and Co., [], [1933], OCLC 2666860, page 0091:
      Then his sallow face brightened, for the hall had been carefully furnished, and was very clean. ¶ There was a neat hat-and-umbrella stand, and the stranger's weary feet fell soft on a good, serviceable dark-red drugget, which matched in colour the flock-paper on the walls.

Derived terms[edit]


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