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From light +‎ -en.



lighten (third-person singular simple present lightens, present participle lightening, simple past and past participle lightened)

  1. (transitive) To alleviate; to reduce the burden of.
  2. (transitive) To make light or lighter in weight.
  3. (transitive) To make less serious or more cheerful.
  4. (transitive) To make brighter or clearer; to illuminate.
    to lighten an apartment with lamps or gas; to lighten the streets
    • 1667, John Dryden, Annus Mirabilis, London: Henry Herringman, stanza 231, p. 59,[2]
      A Key of fire ran all along the shore,
      And lighten’d all the river with the blaze:
  5. (intransitive) To become light or lighter in weight.
  6. (intransitive) To become less serious or more cheerful.
  7. (intransitive) To become brighter or clearer; to brighten.
  8. (intransitive, archaic) To burst forth or dart, as lightning; to shine with, or like, lightning; to flash.
  9. (transitive) To emit or disclose in, or as if in, lightning; to flash out, like lightning.
  10. To descend; to light.
  11. To illuminate with knowledge; to enlighten.
    • 1599, John Davies, “Of the Soule of man, and the immortalitie thereof” in Nosce Teipsum. This Oracle Expounded in Two Elegies, London: John Standish, p. 10,[6]
      O Light which mak’st the Light, which makes the Day,
      Which setst the Eye without and Mind within,
      Lighten my spirit with one cleare heavenly ray,
      Which now to view it selfe doth first begin.


Derived terms[edit]