Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

lighten

verb
     
light‧en
1 [transitive] to reduce the amount of work, worry, debt etc that someone has [≠ increase]
lighten the load/burden/workload
We should hire another secretary to lighten Barbara's workload.
2 [intransitive and transitive] to become brighter or less dark, or to make something brighter etc [≠ darken]:
As the sky lightened, we were able to see where we were.
3 [intransitive and transitive] if you lighten something such as a mood or atmosphere, or if it lightens, it becomes less sad or serious
lighten the atmosphere/mood/conversation
Nora didn't respond to my attempts to lighten the conversation.
4 [intransitive] if someone's face or expression lightens, they begin to look more cheerful:
His whole face would lighten when anyone mentioned Nancy.
5 [intransitive and transitive] to reduce the weight of something or become less heavy
6

lighten up

spoken used to tell someone not to be so serious about something:
You need to lighten up a bit.

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