Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To make or become bright or brighter.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To make bright or brighter in color
  • v. To add luster or splendor to
  • v. (figuratively) To make more cheerful and pleasant; to enliven
  • v. To grow bright, or more bright in color; to clear up
  • v. To become brighter or more cheerful in mood

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To grow bright, or more bright; to become less dark or gloomy; to clear up; to become bright or cheerful.
  • transitive v. To make bright or brighter; to make to shine; to increase the luster of; to give a brighter hue to.
  • transitive v. To make illustrious, or more distinguished; to add luster or splendor to.
  • transitive v. To improve or relieve by dispelling gloom or removing that which obscures and darkens; to shed light upon; to make cheerful.
  • transitive v. To make acute or witty; to enliven.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To grow bright or more bright; become less dark or gloomy: literally or figuratively.
  • To make bright or brighter in any manner; shed light on; make to shine; increase the luster of.
  • To dispel gloom from; cheer; make gay or cheerful: as, to brighten prospects.
  • To make illustrious or more distinguished; heighten the splendor of; add luster to.
  • To make acute or witty; sharpen the faculties of.
  • To add brilliancy to the colors of (prints, etc.), by boiling them in a solution of soda.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. become clear
  • v. make lighter or brighter

Etymologies

Anglo-Saxon beorhtan. bright +‎ -en (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Cretak allowed her expression to brighten, as if with great relief.

    CATALYST OF SORROWS

  • Proponents urge us to "brighten" clouds by spraying up droplets of sea water, as scientists are now trying to do with a little help from Bill Gates.

    Craig K. Comstock: Hack the Planet?

  • I like lime wedge or even a cucumber slice in my water ... do you have any favorite ways to 'brighten' a plain glass of water?

    A Week Without Wine...Yes Really

  • IF I wanted to "brighten" up my pesto a bit I would stick it back in my food processor and add a bit more lime juice I love the brightness of lime juice in pesto and that's it.

    How to Freeze Fresh Basil

  • Just kind of brighten you up a little, here on this Sunday morning.

    CNN Transcript Mar 30, 2008

  • I say Jared, because whenever I got bogged down, he was there to kind of brighten me up.

    For the Children: Lessons from a Visionary Principal; How We Can Save Our Public School

  • The face, at this moment, was a sad one, but its lines expressed no weak surrender to dolefulness; her lips were courageous, and her eyes such as brighten readily with joy.

    Denzil Quarrier

  • GHS Fast Fret Claims to smooth the feel of the strings, making them easier to fret and play, clean them, reduce the noise, 'brighten' the instruments sound and condition the fretboard and neck.

    All Categories Featured Content - Associated Content

  • Really, the only way to "brighten" the room, since everything else is already light, is to deal with the cabinets. mschatelaine on September 4th 2009 at 8: 34am view mschatelaine's

    Apartment Therapy Main

  • What will "brighten" the commute, Mayor, is less vehicles, more HOV/carpool lanes, better bus service, and a taxi-sharing service.

    TreeHugger

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Comments

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  • I've never before seen this use of "brighten" to mean something like ameliorate:

    "They drank linden tea to brighten a cold or tame the nerves." The Zookeeper's Wife, pg 21

    I like the synonym "ameliorate" because this use of brighten was in the context of linden honey and its uses.

    March 31, 2009