Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word


 - definitions and thesaurus

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb lighten pronunciation in American English /ˈlaɪt(ə)n/ 
Word Forms
present tense
present participlelightening
past tenselightened
past participlelightened

Related meanings

  1. 1



    lighten up

    [intransitive/transitive] if a situation or someone's mood lightens, or if someone or something lightens it, it becomes more relaxed

    Gina tried to lighten the atmosphere by telling a joke.

  2. 2
    [transitive] to reduce an amount of work

    We need to hire someone else to lighten the workload.

    Synonyms and related words for this sense of lighten
  3. 3
    [intransitive/transitive] to become brighter or lighter in color, or to make something brighter or lighter in color

    The skies lightened and the rain stopped.

    Synonyms and related words for this sense of lighten
    Synonyms and related words for this sense of lighten
  4. 4
    [intransitive/transitive] to become less heavy, or to make something less heavy
    Synonyms and related words for this sense of lighten

phrasal verbs


web content which is specifically intended to make Facebook users click the 'Like' button associated with it

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


the possibility of Greece leaving the Eurozone …

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog