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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.
    • Bible, Psalms xxxiv. 5
      They looked unto him, were lightened.
  4. (transitive) To make brighter or clearer; to illuminate.
    to lighten an apartment with lamps or gas; to lighten the streets
    • Dryden
      A key of fire ran all along the shore, / And lightened all the river with a 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) To burst forth or dart, as lightning; to shine with, or like, lightning; to flash.
    • Shakespeare
      This dreadful night, / That thunders, lightens, opens graves, and roars / As doth the lion.
  9. (transitive) To emit or disclose in, or as if in, lightning; to flash out, like lightning.
    • Shakespeare
      His eye [] lightens forth / Controlling majesty.
  10. To descend; to light.
    • Book of Common Prayer
      O Lord, let thy mercy lighten upon us.
  11. To illuminate with knowledge; to enlighten.
    • Sir J. Davies
      Lighten my spirit with one clear heavenly ray.


Derived terms[edit]