Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To make less; reduce.
  • transitive v. Archaic To make little of; belittle.
  • intransitive v. To become less; decrease. See Synonyms at decrease.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To make less; to diminish; to reduce.
  • v. To become less.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To make less; to reduce; to make smaller, or fewer; to diminish; to lower; to degrade
  • intransitive v. To become less; to shrink; to contract; to decrease; to be diminished

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To become less; contract in bulk, quantity, number, or amount; decrease; diminish; shrink.
  • To come to appear less from increase of distance.
  • To make less; diminish; reduce in number, size, degree, or quality.
  • To degrade; reduce in dignity; depreciate; disparage.
  • To cause to appear less from increase of distance; specifically, in falconry, to soar above or beyond.

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

  • v. make smaller
  • v. wear off or die down
  • v. decrease in size, extent, or range

Etymologies

Middle English lessen, lessenen, from lesse, less; see less.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • If you have a Marine or Sailor in 1st platoon, don't be surprised if the frequency of your loved ones calls lessen and their e-mails stop altogether.

    Marine Corps Moms

  • But he knew he would have to use some other stuff to kind of lessen the sting of his disagreement with how McCain is handling that situation about a confidential source.

    Bright Shiny States - Swampland - TIME.com

  • Nor will they "lessen" it or compromise it in anyway.

    Summorum Pontificum and the Orthodox

  • For me the major breakthrough in my personal feminism was realizing that I didn't have to either agree with or even understand other's choices but that it did not "lessen" them as women or feminists.

    Feminism, adultery & choice

  • EDITED TO ADD: After 5 lovely people had read and commented on this entry, I realized I had typed the word "lessen" instead of the more appropriate "lesson" in the second to last paragraph.

    purplecigar Diary Entry

  • I saw a giant need for us as a species to not only "lessen" our dependence on carbon based fuels, but to do away with our utilization of them as a fuel source period!

    Renewable Energy News - RenewableEnergyWorld.com

  • Could it be that when you grow up knowing that you are a disadvantaged minority in a society, you also "lessen" your dreams?

    JSOnline.com

  • When dealing with job titles that are higher-level than the positions for which you are applying, reduce bulleted points under these titles in the resume, and potentially "lessen" the title to a more appropriate name (as many companies will give you big titles in exchange for less compensation).

    KMBC.com - Local News

  • In an attempt to 'lessen' the gang-rape and murder of Abeer, they insisted she was 26-years-old.

    The Common Ills

  • It doesn't "lessen" our sex drive because it's no longer some sort of "special treat" to see her nude.

    AlterNet.org Main RSS Feed

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.