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 More musical foreshadowing of the fate awaiting her would have enhanced the story, but perhaps because this show was written for a family audience, that and other dark elements of the story were left unexplored. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3 Dec. 2023 Such visual restriction enhanced suspicions that winter — gray, chilly and confining — was in fact closing in. Martin Weil, Washington Post, 2 Dec. 2023 Made for everyday use and built to last a lifetime, Material’s line of kitchen necessities will enhance your cooking toolkit. wsj.com, 1 Dec. 2023 Baking competitions encourage friendly rivalry, enhance the holiday spirit, and bring together people who share a passion for baking. Lauren Paige Richeson, Essence, 1 Dec. 2023 Majeed tells us that massage application also enhances the absorption of rosemary’s active ingredients into the skin and hair follicles. Tracy Achonwa, Vogue, 1 Dec. 2023 The credit, which was originally enacted in 1997, was enhanced in 2021 as part of the Biden administration’s American Rescue Plan, a pandemic recovery measure. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 30 Nov. 2023 There are several best practices available to generative AI adopters that enhance accuracy, reliability and domain expertise and increase trust in AI systems, enabling businesses to maximize their gains from generative AI. Rahul Singhal, Forbes, 30 Nov. 2023 But over-softening a round face shape with too many layers will only enhance the rounded effect. Kaitlyn Yarborough, Southern Living, 30 Nov. 2023 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 9 Dec. 2023.

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

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