en·​hance in-ˈhan(t)s How to pronounce enhance (audio)
enhanced; enhancing

transitive verb

: heighten, increase
especially : to increase or improve in value, quality, desirability, or attractiveness
enhanced the room with crown molding
obsolete : raise
enhancement noun

Did you know?

Enhance Has Latin Roots

When enhance was borrowed into English in the 13th century, it literally meant to raise something higher. That sense, though now obsolete, provides a clue about the origins of the word. Enhance, which was spelled enhauncen in Middle English, comes to us from Anglo-French enhaucer or enhauncer ("to raise"), which can be traced back to the Latin altus ("high") by way of an assumed Vulgar Latin verb inaltiare, which would have been formed by combining the prefix in- with the Latin altus. Although enhance initially applied only to physically making things higher, it developed an additional and less literal sense of "to exalt especially in rank or spirit," and quickly acquired extended 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.
Recent Examples on the Web Working together, Biden and MBS could use the Saudi offer of peace to enhance a message of hope. Martin Indyk, Foreign Affairs, 20 Feb. 2024 The high alcohol content enhances the flavor intensity, giving the whisky a warming and chewy mouthfeel. Joseph V Micallef, Forbes, 19 Feb. 2024 Inside, a fireplace enhances the ambiance of the living area. Bay Area Home Report, The Mercury News, 19 Feb. 2024 Emma Stone’s winning streak, bolstered by victories at BAFTA, CCA and the Golden Globes, significantly enhances her chances. Clayton Davis, Variety, 18 Feb. 2024 His replacement, Jordi Bernet, enhanced the Torpedo aesthetic with stark black-and-white images and noirish shadows-and-light texture. Ernesto Lechner, The Hollywood Reporter, 17 Feb. 2024 Extra dry-hopping enhances the aromas of berries and evergreen boughs. Peter Rowe, San Diego Union-Tribune, 16 Feb. 2024 From innovative gadgets that redefine convenience to home essentials that elevate your living space, fashion finds that update your closet, and self-care products that enhance your daily routine. Micaela Arnett, Rolling Stone, 16 Feb. 2024 Overall, the team found that the fossil was coated in paint to enhance the look of the fossil shape. Elizabeth Gamillo, Discover Magazine, 16 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'enhance.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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


Dictionary Entries Near enhance

Cite this Entry

“Enhance.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/enhance. Accessed 26 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


en·​hance in-ˈhan(t)s How to pronounce enhance (audio)
enhanced; enhancing
: to increase or improve in value, desirability, or attractiveness
enhancement noun
enhancer noun

More from Merriam-Webster on enhance

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