What does lighten mean?

Definitions for lighten
ˈlaɪt nlight·en

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word lighten.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. lighten, lighten up, buoy upverb

    make more cheerful

    "the conversation lightened me up a bit"

  2. lightenverb

    reduce the weight on; make lighter

    "she lightened the load on the tired donkey"

  3. lighten, lighten up, buoy upverb

    become more cheerful

    "after a glass of wine, he lightened up a bit"

  4. brighten, lighten up, lightenverb

    make lighter or brighter

    "The paint will brighten the room"

  5. lighten, lighten upverb

    become lighter

    "The room lightened up"

  6. relieve, lightenverb

    alleviate or remove (pressure or stress) or make less oppressive

    "relieve the pressure and the stress"; "lighten the burden of caring for her elderly parents"


  1. lightenverb

    To alleviate; to reduce the burden of.

  2. lightenverb

    To make light or lighter in weight.

  3. lightenverb

    To make less serious or more cheerful.

  4. lightenverb

    To make brighter or clearer; to illuminate.

  5. lightenverb

    To become light or lighter in weight.

  6. lightenverb

    To become less serious or more cheerful.

  7. lightenverb

    To become brighter or clearer; to brighten.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. To Lightenverb

    Etymology: from light.

    Upon his bloody finger he doth wear
    A precious ring, that lightens all the hole. William Shakespeare.

    O light, which mak’st the light which makes the day,
    Which sett’st the eye without, and mind within;
    Lighten my spirit with one clear heav’nly ray,
    Which now to view itself doth first begin. Davies.

    A key of fire ran all along the shore,
    And lighten’d all the river with a blaze. Dryden.

    Nature from the storm
    Shines out afresh; and through the lighten’d air
    A higher lustre, and a clearer calm,
    Diffusive tremble. James Thomson, Summer.

    The mariners were afraid, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. Jon. i. 7.

    Long since with woe
    Nearer acquainted, now I feel by proof,
    That fellowship in pain divides not smart,
    Nor lightens aught each man’s peculiar load. Parad. Reg.

    In offices of love how we may lighten
    Each other’s burden. John Milton, Pa. Lost.

    A trusty villain, very oft,
    When I am dull with care and melancholy,
    Lightens my humour with his merry jests. William Shakespeare.

    The audience are grown weary of continued melancholy scenes; and few tragedies shall succeed in this age, if they are not lightened with a course of mirth. John Dryden, Span. Friar.

  2. To Lightenverb

    Etymology: hit, ligt , Saxon.

    This dreadful night,
    That thunders, lightens, opens graves, and roars
    As doth the lion. William Shakespeare, Julius Cæsar.

    Although I joy in thee,
    I have no joy of this contract to night;
    It is too rash, too unadvis’d, too sudden,
    Too like the light’ning, which doth cease to be
    Ere one can say it lightens. William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet.

    The lightning that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, sheweth unto the other part. Luke xvii. 24.

    Yet looks he like a king: behold his eye,
    As bright as is the eagle’s, lightens forth
    Controlling majesty. William Shakespeare, Richard II.

    O Lord, let thy mercy lighten upon us, as our trust is in thee. Common Prayer.


  1. lighten

    To lighten means to reduce the darkness or intensity of something. This could refer to making a physical object less heavy, a mood or atmosphere less serious or gloomy, or a color less intense. It can also refer to illuminating a space by introducing light. Lighten can mean making a burden or responsibility less demanding or oppressive as well, or reducing the load carried by someone or something.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Lightenverb

    to descend; to light

  2. Lightenverb

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

  3. Lightenverb

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

  4. Lightenverb

    to make light or clear; to light; to illuminate; as, to lighten an apartment with lamps or gas; to lighten the streets

  5. Lightenverb

    to illuminate with knowledge; to enlighten

  6. Lightenverb

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

  7. Lightenverb

    to free from trouble and fill with joy

  8. Lightenverb

    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

  9. Lightenverb

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

  10. Lightenverb

    to cheer; to exhilarate

  11. Etymology: [See Light to illuminate.]

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Lighten

    līt′n, v.t. to make light or clear: (fig.) to illuminate with knowledge.—v.i. to shine like lightning: to flash: to become less dark.—ns. Light′ning, the electric flash usually followed by thunder: (Shak.) a becoming bright; Light′ning-arrest′er, an apparatus used for protecting telegraph or telephone lines, &c., from lightning-discharges; Light′ning-bug, a sort of phosphorescent beetle or firefly; Light′ning-conduc′tor, Light′ning-rod, a metallic rod for protecting buildings from lightning.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records


    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Lighten is ranked #94311 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Lighten surname appeared 194 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Lighten.

    68% or 132 total occurrences were Black.
    18% or 35 total occurrences were White.
    8.7% or 17 total occurrences were of two or more races.
    5.1% or 10 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.

Matched Categories

How to pronounce lighten?

How to say lighten in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of lighten in Chaldean Numerology is: 8

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of lighten in Pythagorean Numerology is: 3

Examples of lighten in a Sentence

  1. Erskine Bowles:

    Sir Howard is among the finest directors I've ever served with, his understanding of global economics, risk, and their impact on global financial institutions is invaluable. He also brings a wonderful wit that can lighten a moment in just the right manner.

  2. John Lancaster Spalding:

    Leave each one his touch of folly it helps to lighten life's burden which, if he could see himself as he is, might be too heavy to carry.

  3. Ripley D. Saunders:

    Just being happy helps other souls along Their burdens may be heavy and they not strong And your own sky will lighten, If other skies you brighten, by just being happy with a heart full of song.

  4. Sally Quinn:

    O'Reilly is an entertainer and everything he does is totally subjective, including his memories, to attack him is simply to increase his ratings and the sales of his phenomenally popular books. Lighten up, everybody.

  5. Prophet Mohammad:

    What actions are most excellent? To gladden the heart of human beings, to feed the hungry, to help the afflicted, to lighten the sorrow of the sorrowful, and to remove the sufferings of the injured.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for lighten

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • alleugerir, alleujarCatalan, Valencian
  • erleichternGerman
  • aliviar, aclarar, aligerarSpanish
  • valaista, kevetä, kirkastaa, valaistua, keventää, kirkastua, keventyäFinnish
  • allégerFrench
  • alixeirarGalician
  • lumar, klarigar, klareskar, gayeskar, lumizar, alejar, lejerigar, lejereskar, gayigarIdo
  • alleggerireItalian
  • 덜어주다Korean
  • whakamāmāMāori
  • verlichtenDutch
  • aligeirar, aliviarPortuguese
  • светле́ть, смягча́ть, облегча́ть, обле́гчить, смягчи́ть, осветли́ть, осветля́ть, посветле́тьRussian

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"lighten." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 29 Sep. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/lighten>.

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    make worse
    • A. inspire
    • B. disturb
    • C. aggravate
    • D. conceal

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