Definition of lighten in English:

lighten

Syllabification: light·en
Pronunciation: /ˈlītn
 
/

verb

1Make or become lighter or brighter: [no object]: the sky began to lighten in the east [with object]: she had lightened her hair
More example sentences
  • As the sky began to lighten in the east, humans and lizards moved quickly through the trees, wearing earthen colors and staying as low as possible to the ground.
  • The sky was beginning to lighten in the east, which meant they were running out of time.
  • I could watch the last star fade as the sky lightened and birds began to chatter amongst themselves about the coming day.
Synonyms
make lighter, make brighter, brighten, light up, illuminate, throw/cast light on, shine on, irradiate
literary illumine, illume
whiten, make whiter, bleach, blanch, make paler
1.1 [with object] archaic Enlighten spiritually: now the Lord lighten thee, thou art a great fool
2 [no object] (it lightens, it is lightening, etc.) rare Emit flashes of lightning; flash with lightning: it thundered and lightened

Usage

Years ago, the phrase it is lightening (as in ‘thundering and lightening’) was contracted to it is light’ning, which eventually became further shortened to it is lightning. In modern use, the word lightning stands on its own as a noun ( did you see that lightning?) and a verb ( it looks as if it’s going to start lightning). Today, in the context of electrical storms, lightening would likely be considered a misspelling of lightning, rather than a variant spelling.

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