en·​hance | \in-ˈhan(t)s, en-\
enhanced; enhancing

Definition of enhance 

transitive verb

1 : heighten, increase especially : to increase or improve in value, quality, desirability, or attractiveness enhanced the room with crown molding

2 obsolete : raise

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Other Words from enhance

enhancement \ in-​ˈhan(t)-​smənt , en-​ \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for enhance


ameliorate, amend, better, enrich, help, improve, meliorate, perfect, refine, upgrade



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Enhance Has Latin Roots

When enhance was borrowed into English in the 13th century, it meant “to raise.” That sense, though now obsolete, provides a clue about the origins of the word. Spelled enhauncen in Middle English, the word comes to us from Anglo-French enhaucer or enhauncer ("to raise"), which can be traced back to the Vulgar Latin verb inaltiare. That word, in turn, was formed by combining the prefix in- with Latin altus, meaning "high." Although enhance initially applied only to physically making things higher, it developed an additional and less literal sense "to exalt especially in rank or spirit" and quickly acquired figurative senses for "raising" the value or attractiveness of something or someone.

Examples of enhance in a Sentence

You can enhance the flavor of the dish by using fresh herbs. The image has been digitally enhanced to show more detail. The company is looking to enhance its earnings potential.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Local governments and agencies can work with ride-hailing services to enhance public transit instead of undermining it. Daniel Sperling, Scientific American, "Can Ride-Hailing Improve Public Transportation Instead of Undercutting It?," 5 July 2018 Every year since 2010, the Department of Defense's Warrior Games bring together wounded service members in a supportive and competitive environment to enhance their recovery and rehabilitation. Jeremy Bradley, CBS News, "This veteran battled back from injury and depression," 1 July 2018 Cutting back to enhance signature nights The cuts will allow the city to improve the quality of its signature festival weekends, such as Glendale Glitters opening weekend, said city spokeswoman Kim Larson. Jen Fifield, azcentral, "City strips down festivities at Glendale Glitters to cut costs," 26 June 2018 Robots Could Keep Troops Safer These robots could provide a key advantage to enhance force protection. Allison Barrie, Fox News, "Tank-killing robot revealed," 22 June 2018 You may be tempted to undermine the success of others to enhance your chances of getting ahead. Linda Clark-santos, idahostatesman, "Want to be successful? Manage up, down, across and out!," 20 June 2018 Responding to a recent string of shootings across the country, Burlington County is dedicating half of its annual capital budget — $20 million — to enhance security in 21 of its public high schools. Avalon R. Zoppo, Philly.com, "After school shootings, Burlington County directs $20 million to school safety," 12 June 2018 The company has changed its entryways and walkways to enhance exposure of skin creams, smoking cessation products and other health-care items as well as juices, nuts, vegetables and other healthy snacks. Gordon Dickson, star-telegram, "When will that new CVS Pharmacy open in downtown Fort Worth?," 12 June 2018 News of the suspension, which stems from a violation on the NFL's performance-enhancing substance policy, initially surfaced in early June. Jordan Mcpherson, miamiherald, "With this player out, the Dolphins less to worry about when they face Patriots Week 4," 5 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'enhance.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of enhance

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for enhance

Middle English enhauncen, from Anglo-French enhaucer, enhauncer, from Vulgar Latin *inaltiare, from Latin in + altus high — more at old

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Last Updated

31 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for enhance

The first known use of enhance was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for enhance



English Language Learners Definition of enhance

: to increase or improve (something)


en·​hance | \in-ˈhans \
enhanced; enhancing

Kids Definition of enhance

: to make greater or better The products claim to enhance beauty.

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Comments on enhance

What made you want to look up enhance? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


obstinately defiant of authority

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