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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English

lighten

verb
COLLOCATIONS FROM OTHER ENTRIES
ease/reduce/lighten the burden
▪ Smaller classes would ease the burden for teachers.
lighten sb's mood (=make someone feel happier)
▪ The sun was streaming in the window, but it did nothing to lighten his mood.
the lightening sky (=becoming lighter)
▪ A plane flew across the lightening sky.
COLLOCATIONS FROM CORPUS
■ ADVERB
up
▪ He would lighten up and have some fun-he would do something different, something new.
▪ Jones never learned to sing and rarely lightened up his sloganeering.
▪ Wild knows how to lighten up and he does it with the digital mastery and temperament he has exhibited for many decades.
▪ You're beginning to lighten up a bit.
▪ With Clinique, he believes that people today want to lighten up and be, well, happy.
▪ Send your details to. 50 free It's time to lighten up, courtesy of Jerome Russell.
▪ She advises those still aghast at the Pia Zadora fiasco to lighten up.
■ NOUN
atmosphere
▪ I smile at her to lighten the atmosphere.
▪ There was no breeze to lighten the atmosphere.
▪ The little mountains of earth scattered around didn't lighten the atmosphere, either.
burden
▪ We intend to lighten the burden of capital taxes and reform the taxation of savings.
▪ One of the main aims of the Michigan legislation was to lighten the prosecution's burden.
▪ Resist oppression, lighten the burden of the underdog, spread understanding and reason.
▪ Many poor people were grateful for anything which lightened their burden, others were resentful of patronage which went with it.
▪ One way or another, though, we must have the scope to lighten our self-imposed burden of debt.
▪ She fought against the sudden unexplainable impulse to tell him everything, to lighten the heavy burden of grieving alone.
load
▪ I trust that this review has helped at least somewhat to lighten that load.
▪ He said school districts should reduce teacher paperwork, hire more clerical help and lighten teaching loads to reduce stress.
▪ So how about a new 12-place setting dishwasher to lighten the load?
▪ Having lightened its load, crews hoped to float the barge out to sea Tuesday.
▪ Most probably they were thrown into the sea to lighten the load when the ship found itself in difficulties.
mood
▪ Just trying to lighten the mood a bit.
▪ The sun was streaming in through the window, yet it did nothing to lighten his mood.
▪ Don't paint the red apple as seen, brighten and lighten its mood or subdue and cool its expression.
sky
▪ As the road lengthened and the sky began to lighten overhead, they were able to see their surroundings more clearly.
▪ Outside, the sky was just lightening up, which was more than I could say for myself.
▪ The sky was beginning to lighten.
▪ The upper reaches of the sky had lightened, but the valley was still sleeping in the pale blue predawn light.
▪ Look - the sky is lightening.
▪ Above him, the sky seemed to lighten.
▪ Outside, the sky was already lightening.
■ VERB
try
▪ Just trying to lighten the mood a bit.
▪ Children often bring their own little containers, trying to lighten some of their family's burden.
EXAMPLES FROM OTHER ENTRIES
▪ As the sky lightened, we could see the distant mountains.
▪ As weather conditions got worse, Watts and Peters abandoned their photographic equipment in order to lighten the load.
▪ I'm sure you could lighten that suitcase a little if you only packed what you need.
▪ Maybe we should hire another secretary to lighten Barbara's workload.
▪ School administrators are looking at ways to lighten teachers' workloads.
EXAMPLES FROM CORPUS
▪ Her Katherine is sparkling, strong and lightening fast.
▪ High above them the constant roof of clouds would merely lighten and darken in a long solar axial period of 116.8 days.
▪ On March 19 it passed a regulatory reform bill, which is intended to lighten the weight of government on small businesses.
▪ Only in the Scherzo and in certain passages in the Finale do they begin to lighten the texture sufficiently.
▪ This is the claim that industrialism had lightened the intensity of human productive activity.
▪ Wild knows how to lighten up and he does it with the digital mastery and temperament he has exhibited for many decades.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Lighten

Lighten \Light"en\, v. t. [See Light not heavy.]

  1. To make lighter, or less heavy; to reduce in weight; to relieve of part of a load or burden; as, to lighten a ship by unloading; to lighten a load or burden.

  2. To make less burdensome or afflictive; to alleviate; as, to lighten the cares of life or the burden of grief.

  3. To cheer; to exhilarate.

    Lightens my humor with his merry jests.
    --Shak.

Lighten

Lighten \Light"en\ (l[imac]t"'n), v. i. [imp. & p. p. Lightened (l[imac]t"'nd); p. pr. & vb. n. Lightening.]

  1. To burst forth or dart, as lightning; to shine with, or like, lightning; to display a flash or flashes of lightning; to flash.

    This dreadful night, That thunders, lightens, opens graves, and roars As doth the lion.
    --Shak.

  2. To grow lighter; to become less dark or lowering; to brighten; to clear, as the sky.

Lighten

Lighten \Light"en\ (l[imac]t"'n), v. i. [See Light to alight.] To descend; to light.

O Lord, let thy mercy lighten upon us.
--Book of Common Prayer [Eng. Ed.].

Lighten

Lighten \Light"en\, v. t. [See Light to illuminate.]

  1. To make light or clear; to light; to illuminate; as, to lighten an apartment with lamps or gas; to lighten the streets. [In this sense less common than light.]

    A key of fire ran all along the shore, And lightened all the river with a blaze.
    --Dryden.

  2. To illuminate with knowledge; to enlighten. [In this sense less common than enlighten.]

    Lighten my spirit with one clear heavenly ray.
    --Sir J. Davies.

  3. To emit or disclose in, or as in, lightning; to flash out, like lightning.

    His eye . . . lightens forth Controlling majesty.
    --Shak.

  4. To free from trouble and fill with joy.

    They looked unto him, and were lightened.
    --Ps. xxxiv.

Wiktionary

lighten

vb. 1 (context transitive English) To alleviate; to reduce the burden of. 2 (context transitive English) To make light or lighter in weight. 3 (context transitive English) To make less serious or more cheerful. 4 (context transitive English) To make brighter or clearer; to illuminate. 5 (context intransitive English) To become light or lighter in weight. 6 (context intransitive English) To become less serious or more cheerful. 7 (context intransitive English) To become brighter or clearer; to brighten. 8 (context intransitive English) To burst forth or dart, as lightning; to shine with, or like, lightning; to flash. 9 (context transitive English) 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.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

lighten

"to make less heavy," figuratively "to make cheerful," mid-14c., from light (adj.1) + -en (1). Related: Lightened; lightening.\n

lighten

"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.\n

WordNet

lighten

  1. v. make more cheerful [syn: buoy up] [ant: weigh down]

  2. make more cheerful [syn: buoy up]

  3. make lighter or brighter; "The paint will brighten the room" [syn: brighten, lighten up] [ant: darken]

  4. become brighter; "The sky brightened" [syn: brighten] [ant: darken]

  5. become lighter; "The room lightened up" [syn: lighten up]

Usage examples of "lighten".

She had ached to point out that the shockingly expensive hairdresser who cut it once monthly and the even more horrendously expensive lightening procedure which involved a trip to London every month could hardly be described as natural, but what was the point?

The sun in El Bahar had tanned him to the color of toast, and lightened his hair in streaks.

It had an air of somewhat gloomy respectability, and was presided over by an angular lady whose appearance carried the suggestion that she must be in mourning for a near relation, since she wore a bombasine dress of sombre hue, without frills, or lace, or even a ribbon to lighten its sobriety.

Without preliminary lightening, it became a gateway to a bright cityscape built as within a sphere or tube, buildings dependent from all visible surfaces.

The wild white hair was carefully combed, the deeper creases in his face were caulked, and his black skin lightened somewhat with a brown powder.

Not farre of, there was a cleft in the earth, the which continually did cast foorth burning matter, and taking of this, and filling the bottome of the vessel, they did put certaine ginnes and sweet woods which made an inestimable suffumigation, as of the sweetest past, afterwardes closing the same, and putting downe the couer, both partes being holow, and the lipping and ribbing perforated and pearced through the transparent, Christal cleare and bright, they rendered a pleasant and diuers coulered light, by the which through the smal holes the bathes were lightened, and the heate stil incarcerated and interdicted.

And as the water gushed wastefully into the basin, Cyd just stared in shock as the florid blisters from the third-degree burn caved in and lightened, and her skin returned to normal.

They see boy, we will go to house - a sigh said to Rowan, exhalando of lightening and with the sensation of to have escapado of a vile death -.

She was still wearing the red Paisley dress which echoed her complexion so unfortunately, but the Honiton fichu and gold-set diamonds of the evening before lightened the sombre effect.

Moved on by these encouraging words, and a firm hand in the small of his back, Giulio carried the now lightened suitcase down the seemingly endless steps to the harbor.

Despite its grim origin his laughter lightened their mood as they rode from the clearing into the premature gloaming of the trees.

What do you think about covering the gray and maybe lightening up this brown with some goldish highlights?

He thought about the stars passing by his window as if they were friends: Hamal, of course, and Menkar, and the sprinkling of tau stars, omi Tau, xi Tau and f Tau, then Aldebaran and Algol, and Betelgeuse, who faded last in the lightening sky.

It was lopsided, as though rusty, yet it lightened his face, took ten years off his looks, displayed fine, even teeth land a dimple in his cheek .

Whatever she saw pleased her, for a slow smile lightened her features.