freshen (freshens, present participle freshening; past and past participle freshened)

  1. (intransitive) To become fresh.
    1. To be refresh#Verb|refreshed.
      • 1799, Samuel Jackson Pratt, Gleanings in England, London: T.N. Longman and O. Rees, Volume 4, Letter 3, p. 39,
        Ah, how my spirit freshens, as I taste
        That life-restoring breeze!
      • 1874, Thomas Hardy, “Adventures by the Shore”, in Far from the Madding Crowd. [...] In Two Volumes, volume II, London: Smith, Elder & Co., […], OCLC 2481962 ↗, [ page 206]:
        He descended and came to a small basin of sea enclosed by the cliffs. Troy’s nature freshened within him; he thought he would rest and bathe here before going farther.
    2. To become cool.
      • 1793, uncredited translator, The Natural History of Birds by Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, London: A. Strahan and T. Cadell, Volume 4, “The Titiri, or Pipiri,” p. 468,
        They breed, says M. Deshayes, in the heats of autumn, and during the freshening air of winter, at St. Domingo [...]
      • 1927, Frederick Philip Grove, A Search for America, Book 4, Chapter 2,
        We set out at once, swinging along at a good gait in the freshening afternoon, walking now the track, now the road which skirted it [...]
      • 2007, J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Arthur A. Levine Books, Chapter 36, p. 728,
        A little later, Harry sensed, by a freshening of the air, that they had reached the edge of the forest.
    3. (of water) To become not salty, to lose its salinity.
      • 1785, John Rickman, Journal of James Cook’s Last Voyage, to the Pacific Ocean, London: E. Newbery, Introduction, pp. xxx-xxxi,
        He coasted along the American Continent from the 60th degree of northern latitude, till he fell in with the Gulph of St. Lawrence, which he continued to navigate till he perceived the water to freshen;
      • 1949, Jim Kjelgaard, Kalak of the Ice, New York: Holiday House, Chapter 1,
        They [...] drank from fresh-water lakes formed where old salt ice had freshened and melted [...]
  2. (intransitive, of wind) To become stronger.
    • 1674, James Janeway, Mr. James Janeway’s Legacy to His Friends, London: Dorman Newman, “Remarkable Sea Deliverances,” p. 53,
      [...] the wind freshen’d, and carryed our Maintop-mast by the board; in which disaster, the man that was lower-most, and least in danger, fell over-board, and was drowned;
    • 1727, Daniel Defoe, An Essay on the History and Reality of Apparitions, London, Chapter 11, p. 214,
      [...] he call’d his chief Mate as he was going off from the Watch, and ask’d him how all things far’d; who answer’d, that all was well, and the Gale freshen’d, and they run at a great Rate;
    • 1886, Robert Louis Stevenson, “I Hear of the ‘Red Fox’”, in Kidnapped, being Memoirs of the Adventures of David Balfour in the Year 1751: […], London; Paris: Cassell & Company, Limited., OCLC 1056292939 ↗, page 101 ↗:
      All day the breeze held in the same point, and rather freshened than died down; and towards afternoon, a swell began to set in from round the outer Hebrides.
    • 1974, Richard Adams, Shardik, London: Oneworld, 2014, Chapter 7,
      As he gazed up, the night wind freshened and the rustling of leaves became louder and higher, with a semblance of urgent repetition [...]
  3. (intransitive, transitive, of a cow) To begin or resume giving milk, especially after calving; to cause to resume giving milk.
    • 1919 January, in The Chenango County Farm Bureau News, volume 5, number 1, page 7:
      For Sale—Three registered holstein cows. Due to freshen the first of Jan. February and March. Prices that will sell. Age three and five years. Eugune Gibson, Smyrna.
    • 1938, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, The Yearling, New York: Grosset and Dunlap, Chapter 26, p. 329,
      The cow freshened the week before Christmas. The calf was a heifer and there was rejoicing on Baxter’s Island.
    • 1955, Cyril M. Kornbluth, Not This August, Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Book 1, Chapter 4,
      It was a miserably small two-week net for eight good Holsteins, but they were near the end of their lactation period; soon he’d have to arrange for freshening them again.
  4. (transitive) To make fresh.
    1. To refresh; to revive; to renew.
      • 1657, John Davies (translator) (translator), L'Astrée by Honoré d'Urfé, London: H. Moseley et al., Volume 2, Part 3, Book 1, pp. 122-123,
        [...] the good Druid went to seeke out some hearbs by the bank sides, which he knew were good to be applyed unto my wounds, and which would a little freshen and invigorate my spirits;
      • 1868, Louisa M[ay] Alcott, “A Telegram”, in Little Women: Or, Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy, part first, Boston, Mass.: Roberts Brothers, published 1869, OCLC 30743985 ↗, page 231 ↗:
        I’ve been pegging away at mathematics till my head is in a muddle, and I’m going to freshen my wits by a brisk turn.
      • 1952, Nevil Shute, The Far Country (novel), London: Heinemann, Chapter 6,
        They went into the little room again at about a quarter to nine, freshened by a meal in the canteen and a cigarette.
      • 1956, Saul Bellow, Seize the Day (novel), New York: Crest, 1965, Chapter 5, p. 89,
        New hope freshened his heart.
    2. To make cool.
      • 1973, Jan Morris, Heaven’s Command: An Imperial Progress, New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Chapter 3, p. 60,
        [...] Natal, the glorious green country on the coast, lush, forested, watered, warm in the bitterest winter, in the summer freshened by breezes off the sea or the high mountains that bounded it inland.
    3. To make green (vegetation that has become dry).
      • 1915, Edward Sorenson, On the Wallaby, Sydney: The Catholic Press, Chapter 11,
        [The animals] were not valuable enough to be worth the trouble of saving until rain came to fill the holes and freshen the pastures.
    4. To remove or cover unpleasant qualities such as staleness, bad odour or taste (in air, breath, water, etc.).
      • 1876, George Eliot [pseudonym; Mary Ann Evans], chapter XVIII, in Daniel Deronda, volume I, Edinburgh; London: William Blackwood and Sons, OCLC 775411 ↗, book II (Meeting Streams), page 356 ↗:
        Mrs. Meyrick’s house was not noisy: the front parlor looked on the river, and the back on gardens, so that though she was reading aloud to her daughters, the window could be left open to freshen the air of the small double room where a lamp and two candles were burning.
      • 1958, T. H. White, The Once and Future King, New York: Berkley, Chapter 20, p. 179,
        [...] from the earliest time that he could remember, there had lain pleasantly in the end of his nose the various scents of mint—used to freshen the water in the ewers—or of basil, camomile, fennel, hysop and lavender—which he had been taught to strew on the rushy floors [...]
      • 1989, John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany, New York: William Morrow, Chapter 7, p. 333,
        Nowadays, she’d be the kind of woman who’d carry one of those breath-freshening atomizers in her purse—gassing herself with the atomizer, all day long, just in case someone might be moved to spontaneously kiss her.
      • 2007, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, Wizard of the Crow, New York: Knopf Doubleday, 2008, Chapter 17, p. 392,
        Tajirika found him trying to freshen the air in the chamber with perfume, but no amount of perfume could quite remove the stink in the offices of the Ruler.
    5. To touch up (makeup); to give (a body part, especially the face) a quick wash.
      • 1958, Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany's (novella), Penguin, 1961, Chapter 8, p. 56,
        It was after seven, she was freshening her lipstick and perking up her appearance [...]
      • 1969, Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, New York: Random House, Chapter 35, p. 266,
        [...] I knew that their laughter was real and that their lives were cheerful comedies, interrupted only by costume changes and freshening of make-up.
      • 1971, Alice Munro, “Heirs of the Living Body” in Lives of Girls and Women, p. 57,
        “Grace is upstairs, freshening her eyes. [...]”
      • 1976, Don DeLillo, Ratner's Star, New York: Knopf, “Reflections: Logicon Project Minus-One,” p. 367,
        [He] stepped with terrible suddenness into what proved to be no more than a trickle of freezing water, enough at any rate to freshen his armpits, crotch and feet.
    6. To touch up the paint on (something).
      • 1922, W[illiam] B[utler] Yeats, chapter I, in The Trembling of the Veil, London: Privately printed for subscribers only by T[homas] Werner Laurie, Ltd., OCLC 851492 ↗, book I (Four Years 1887–1891), pages 3–4 ↗:
        I remember feeling disappointed [...] because the great sign of a trumpeter designed by Rooke, the Pre-Raphaelite artist, had been freshened by some inferior hand.
      • 1997, Toni Morrison, Paradise (novel), New York: Knopf, 1998, p. 185,
        In staging the school’s Christmas play the whole town helped or meddled: older men repaired the platform, assembled the crib; young ones fashioned new innkeepers and freshened the masks with paint.
  5. (transitive) To give redness to (the face or cheeks of a person with light skin).
    • 1849, Currer Bell [pseudonym; Charlotte Brontë], “Mr. Donne’s Exodus”, in Shirley. A Tale. [...] In Three Volumes, volume II, London: Smith, Elder and Co., […], OCLC 84390265 ↗, page 107 ↗:
      It was a breezy sunny day; the air freshened the girls' cheeks and gracefully dishevelled their ringlets: [...]
    • 1872 September – 1873 July, Thomas Hardy, “‘Where Heaves the Turf in Many a Mould’ring Heap.’”, in A Pair of Blue Eyes. A Novel. [...] In Three Volumes, volume I, London: Tinsley Brothers, […], published 1873, OCLC 654408324 ↗, page 59 ↗:
      The wind had freshened his warm complexion as it freshens the glow of a brand.
    • 1986, William Trevor, “The News from Ireland” in The News from Ireland and Other Stories, New York: Viking, p. 15,
      ‘Might copper beech trees mark the route?’ suggested Adelaide, her dumpling countenance freshened by the excitement this thought induced.
  6. (transitive) To make less salty; to separate, as water, from saline ingredients.
    to freshen water, fish, or flesh
    • 1784, Thomas Pennant, Arctic Zoology, London, Volume 1, Introduction, p. clxxxviii,
      Let me remark, that the great exercise used by these volunteer adventurers; their quantity of vegetable food; their freshening their salt provision, by boiling it in water, and mixing it with flour; their beverage of whey; and their total abstinence from spirituous liquors—are the happy preservatives from the scurvy, which brought all the preceding adventurers, who perished, to their miserable end.
    • 1968, Ursula K. Le Guin, A Wizard of Earthsea, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012, Chapter 10, p. 196,
      [...] ordinarily a wizard looks after such small conveniences by way of spells, the very least and commonest kind of spells, and indeed it takes little more magic to freshen seawater and so save the bother of carrying fresh water.
  7. (transitive, nautical) To relieve, as a rope, by change of place where friction wears it; or to renew, as the material used to prevent chafing.
    to freshen a hawse
    • 1777, William Hutchinson (privateer), A Treatise on Practical Seamanship, Liverpool, “On Mooring Ships,” p. 73,
      [...] when a ship is to lie with all winds that may blow, the best anchor and open hawse should be towards the worst wind that may blow, to raise the waves, and give the ship a pitching motion [...] and must leave no more of the smallest moorings within board, than just enough to freshen the hawse on occasion;
  8. (transitive) To top up (a drink).
    • 1962, James Baldwin, Another Country (novel), New York: Dial, 1963, Book 1, Chapter 2, p. 89,
      She dried her eyes and blew her nose and picked up her drink. ¶ Cass stared at her helplessly. “Let me freshen it for you,” she said, and took the glass into the kitchen.
    • 1967, James Purdy, Eustace Chisholm and the Works, London: GMP Publishers, 1984, Part 1, Chapter 10, p. 99,
      “Get in here and freshen my glass. You’ve got lousy manners for the son of a front-family, and just a hour since we’re engaged...”
  9. (transitive, historical) To top up (primer#Etymology_2|primer) in a firearm.
    • 1826, [James Fenimore Cooper], chapter VII, in The Last of the Mohicans; a Narrative of 1757. [...] In Two Volumes, volume I, Philadelphia, Pa.: H[enry] C[harles] Carey & I[saac] Lea, Chestnut-Street, OCLC 1538219 ↗, page 99 ↗:
      Freshen the priming of your pistols—the mist of the falls is apt to dampen the brimstone—and stand firm for a close struggle, while I fire on their rush.
    • 1979, Aaron Fletcher, The Mountain Breed, New York: Dell, Part 5, Chapter 19, p. 329,
      She pushed her tomahawk and fighting knife into the back of her belt, opened her powder horn and freshened the priming in her rifle and pistols [...]

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