Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To make light or lighter; illuminate or brighten.
  • transitive v. To make (a color) lighter.
  • transitive v. Archaic To enlighten.
  • intransitive v. To become lighter; brighten.
  • intransitive v. To be luminous; shine.
  • intransitive v. To give off flashes of lightning.
  • transitive v. To make less heavy.
  • transitive v. To lessen the oppressiveness, trouble, or severity of. See Synonyms at relieve.
  • transitive v. To relieve of cares or worries; gladden.
  • intransitive v. To become less in weight.
  • intransitive v. To become less oppressive, troublesome, or severe.
  • intransitive v. To become cheerful.
  • lighten up Informal To take matters less seriously: Everything will work out fine, so stop worrying and lighten up.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To alleviate; to reduce the burden of.
  • v. To make light or lighter in weight.
  • v. To make less serious or more cheerful.
  • v. To make brighter or clearer; to illuminate.
  • v. To become light or lighter in weight.
  • v. To become less serious or more cheerful.
  • v. To become brighter or clearer; to brighten.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To descend; to light.
  • intransitive v. To burst forth or dart, as lightning; to shine with, or like, lightning; to display a flash or flashes of lightning; to flash.
  • intransitive v. To grow lighter; to become less dark or lowering; to brighten; to clear, as the sky.
  • transitive v. To make light or clear; to light; to illuminate
  • transitive v. To illuminate with knowledge; to enlighten.
  • transitive v. To emit or disclose in, or as in, lightning; to flash out, like lightning.
  • transitive v. To free from trouble and fill with joy.
  • transitive v. To make lighter, or less heavy; to reduce in weight; to relieve of part of a load or burden
  • transitive v. To make less burdensome or afflictive; to alleviate.
  • transitive v. To cheer; to exhilarate.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To become light or lighter; grow light or clear up; brighten: as, the sky lightens.
  • To emit flashes of lightning; shoot out as lightning; flash. See lightning. The lightning that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven shineth unto the other part.
  • To make light or bright; give light to; light up.
  • To illuminate mentally or spiritually; enlighten.
  • To send forth like lightning.
  • To become light or less heavy.
  • To make light or less heavy; reduce in weight; relieve of weight: as, to lighten coin by clipping or abrasion; to lighten a load or a ship.
  • To make less burdensome or oppressive; alleviate: as, to lighten the cares of life.
  • To cheer; gladden.
  • To make lighter in color or shade: as, to lighten the background of a picture.
  • To descend; settle down; light.

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

  • v. make lighter or brighter
  • v. reduce the weight on; make lighter
  • v. make more cheerful
  • v. become lighter
  • v. become more cheerful
  • v. alleviate or remove (pressure or stress) or make less oppressive

Etymologies

light +‎ -en (Wiktionary)

Examples

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