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lighten (v.1)

"to make less heavy, to lighten a load," mid-14c., lighten, lightnen, from light (adj.1) + -en (1). Figuratively "to make cheerful" from c. 1400. Intransitive sense "become less heavy" is from 1720. Related: Lightened; lightening.

lighten (v.2)

"shed light upon, illuminate, make light or bright," early 14c., from light (n.) + -en (1). Intransitive meaning "to become brighter" is late 14c.; of faces, expressions, etc., from 1795. Meaning "to flash lightning" is from mid-15c. Related: Lightened; lightening.

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Definitions of lighten from WordNet

lighten (v.)
make more cheerful;
the conversation lightened me up a bit
Synonyms: lighten up / buoy up
lighten (v.)
reduce the weight on; make lighter;
she lightened the load on the tired donkey
lighten (v.)
become more cheerful;
after a glass of wine, he lightened up a bit
Synonyms: lighten up / buoy up
lighten (v.)
make more cheerful through the use of color;
Synonyms: brighten / lighten up
lighten (v.)
become lighter;
The room lightened up
Synonyms: lighten up
lighten (v.)
alleviate or remove (pressure or stress) or make less oppressive;
lighten the burden of caring for her elderly parents
Synonyms: relieve
From wordnet.princeton.edu