lessen

To lessen is to make smaller, to reduce, or to weaken. A high school football coach might try to lessen head injuries by improving the quality of the team's helmets.

If your cold symptoms lessen, it means you're sneezing and coughing much less and can probably go to school. If the value of your Pez collection lessens, it means those plastic candy dispensers can't be sold for quite as much money on eBay. And your friend might recommend that you take a yoga class or learn to meditate, especially if she thinks you should lessen your stress and anxiety.

Definitions of lessen
  1. verb
    decrease in size, extent, or range
    synonyms: decrease, diminish, fall
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    Antonyms:
    increase
    become bigger or greater in amount
    types:
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    break
    diminish or discontinue abruptly
    shrink, shrivel
    decrease in size, range, or extent
    taper
    diminish gradually
    drop off
    fall or diminish
    fly, vanish, vaporize
    decrease rapidly and disappear
    break
    fall sharply
    ease off, ease up, flag, slacken off
    become less intense
    weaken
    become weaker
    boil down, concentrate, decoct, reduce
    be cooked until very little liquid is left
    contract, shrink
    become smaller or draw together
    shrink, shrivel, shrivel up, wither
    wither, as with a loss of moisture
    abate, die away, let up, slack, slack off
    become less in amount or intensity
    deflate
    become deflated or flaccid, as by losing air
    dwindle, dwindle away, dwindle down
    become smaller or lose substance
    remit
    diminish or abate
    de-escalate
    diminish in size, scope, or intensity
    depreciate, devaluate, devalue, undervalue
    lose in value
    shorten
    become short or shorter
    thin out
    become sparser
    decline, go down, wane
    grow smaller
    wane
    decrease in phase
    wane
    become smaller
    decelerate, retard, slow, slow down, slow up
    lose velocity; move more slowly
    decrescendo
    grow quieter
    atrophy
    undergo atrophy
    attenuate
    become weaker, in strength, value, or magnitude
    disappear, evaporate, melt
    become less intense and fade away gradually
    die down
    become progressively weaker
    collapse
    lose significance, effectiveness, or value
    fade, melt
    become less clearly visible or distinguishable; disappear gradually or seemingly
    subside
    wear off or die down
    blast
    shrivel or wither or mature imperfectly
    die back, die down
    suffer from a disease that kills shoots
    dry up, mummify
    dry up and shrivel due to complete loss of moisture
    blur, dim, slur
    become vague or indistinct
    languish, pine away, waste
    lose vigor, health, or flesh, as through grief
    dull
    make less lively or vigorous
    pall
    lose strength or effectiveness; become or appear boring, insipid, or tiresome (to)
    loose, loosen, relax
    become loose or looser or less tight
    slacken
    become looser or slack
    dip
    go down momentarily
    wear on
    pass slowly (of time)
    drop
    go down in value
    slack, slacken, slow, slow down, slow up
    become slow or slower
    slow, slow down, slow up
    cause to proceed more slowly
    delay, detain, hold up
    cause to be slowed down or delayed
    wilt
    lose strength
    flex
    contract
    type of:
    change magnitude
    change in size or magnitude
  2. verb
    make smaller
    synonyms: decrease, minify
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    Antonyms:
    increase
    make bigger or more
    types:
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    suppress
    reduce the incidence or severity of or stop
    mitigate
    make less severe or harsh
    pare, pare down
    decrease gradually or bit by bit
    circumscribe, confine, limit
    restrict or confine, "I limit you to two visits to the pub a day"
    boil down, concentrate, reduce
    cook until very little liquid is left
    reduce, shrink
    reduce in size; reduce physically
    abbreviate, abridge, contract, cut, foreshorten, reduce, shorten
    reduce in scope while retaining essential elements
    abate, slack, slake
    make less active or intense
    lour, lower, turn down
    make lower or quieter
    de-escalate, step down, weaken
    reduce the level or intensity or size or scope of
    minimise, minimize
    make small or insignificant
    bring down, cut, cut back, cut down, reduce, trim, trim back, trim down
    cut down on; make a reduction in
    cut
    have a reducing effect
    relax, slack, slack up, slacken
    make less active or fast
    belittle, diminish
    lessen the authority, dignity, or reputation of
    lighten, relieve
    alleviate or remove (pressure or stress) or make less oppressive
    bowdlerise, bowdlerize, castrate, expurgate, shorten
    edit by omitting or modifying parts considered indelicate
    hold down
    restrain
    keep down, number
    place a limit on the number of
    cap
    restrict the number or amount of
    curb, curtail, cut back, restrict
    place restrictions on
    reduce, scale down
    make smaller
    reef
    reduce (a sail) by taking in a reef
    miniaturise, miniaturize
    design or construct on a smaller scale
    concentrate, condense, digest
    make more concise
    shorten
    make shorter than originally intended; reduce or retrench in length or duration
    hedge
    minimize loss or risk
    spill
    reduce the pressure of wind on (a sail)
    quench
    reduce the degree of (luminescence or phosphorescence) in (excited molecules or a material) by adding a suitable substance
    retrench
    make a reduction, as in one's workforce
    slash
    cut drastically
    thin out
    make sparse
    thin
    make thin or thinner
    depopulate, desolate
    reduce in population
    detract, take away
    take away a part from; diminish
    deflate
    reduce or cut back the amount or availability of, creating a decline in value or prices
    inflate
    increase the amount or availability of, creating a rise in value
    downsize
    reduce in size or number
    downsize
    make in a smaller size
    subtract
    take off or away
    delimit, delimitate, demarcate
    set, mark, or draw the boundaries of something
    content
    satisfy in a limited way
    contract
    make smaller
    ration
    restrict the consumption of a relatively scarce commodity, as during war
    knock off, shave
    cut the price of
    type of:
    alter, change, modify
    cause to change; make different; cause a transformation
  3. verb
    wear off or die down
    synonyms: subside
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    type of:
    weaken
    become weaker
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