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

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 Even crazier, Seattle has played its best without its biggest star, second baseman Robinson Cano, who tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug and was suspended 80 games on May 15. Jared Diamond, WSJ, "Baseball’s Luckiest Team Doesn’t Think It’s Luck," 3 July 2018 The team took a hit when Pro Bowl RB Mark Ingram was suspended for four games for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy, but Kamara should be able to pick up the slack. Tom Schad, USA TODAY, "Saints training camp questions: Does Drew Brees have right crew for Super Bowl run?," 28 June 2018 Sosa’s son, 21-year-old Sammy Sosa Jr., was once an MLB-prospect but was bullied as a child after his father was accused of using performance-enhancing drugs as a player. Jason Duaine Hahn, PEOPLE.com, "Sammy Sosa Says He Doesn't Care What People Say About His Lighter Skin Tone: 'This Is My Life'," 27 June 2018 After the workout, Davis commented on his four-game suspension from the NFL for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy and took full responsibility. Jourdan Rodrigue, charlotteobserver, "Panthers minicamp highlights: Cam Newton takes friendly fire in last practice until ...," 14 June 2018 Peyton Manning is still caught up in the fallout from the Al Jazeera network's 2015 documentary accusing U.S. athletes of using performance-enhancing drugs. Jenny Green, Indianapolis Star, "5 things we now know about the Al Jazeera-Peyton Manning legal battle," 13 June 2018 The Northwestern High and Towson University alumnus is expected to provide depth after Mark Ingram was suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances. baltimoresun.com, "Saints signing former Ravens running back Terrance West, report says," 13 June 2018 The bigger concern for the Saints, of course, is that Ingram will miss the first four games of the season because of a suspension related to the NFL policy on performance-enhancing drugs. Josh Katzenstein, NOLA.com, "Mark Ingram planning to attend minicamp, Sean Payton says," 24 May 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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Statistics for enhance

Last Updated

17 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).


one that holds something together

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