Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
The Collaborative International Dictionary
Lighten \Light"en\, v. t. [See Light not heavy.]
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.
To make less burdensome or afflictive; to alleviate; as, to lighten the cares of life or the burden of grief.
To cheer; to exhilarate.
Lightens my humor with his merry jests.
Lighten \Light"en\ (l[imac]t"'n), v. i. [imp. & p. p. Lightened (l[imac]t"'nd); p. pr. & vb. n. Lightening.]
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.
To grow lighter; to become less dark or lowering; to brighten; to clear, as the sky.
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 \Light"en\, v. t. [See Light to illuminate.]
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.
To illuminate with knowledge; to enlighten. [In this sense less common than enlighten.]
Lighten my spirit with one clear heavenly ray.
--Sir J. Davies.
To emit or disclose in, or as in, lightning; to flash out, like lightning.
His eye . . . lightens forth Controlling majesty.
To free from trouble and fill with joy.
They looked unto him, and were lightened.
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
"to make less heavy," figuratively "to make cheerful," mid-14c., from light (adj.1) + -en (1). Related: Lightened; lightening.\n
"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
make more cheerful [syn: buoy up]
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.