en·​hance | \ in-ˈhan(t)s How to pronounce enhance (audio) , 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 How to pronounce enhancement (audio) , en-​ \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for enhance



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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 Gordon was suspended indefinitely in December following his fifth violation of the NFL’s performance-enhancing drugs and substance abuse policy. oregonlive, "Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson ‘would love to add’ Antonio Brown: Report," 25 May 2020 No, his life just took a turn and somehow ran right into performance-enhancing drugs. Christine Brennan, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Enough is enough. Let this be the end of Lance Armstrong's story," 25 May 2020 Eight-time Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson missed the first six games because of an NFL suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al, "Deionte Thompson working for stronger second season with Arizona Cardinals," 23 May 2020 Many Russian athletes during the Sochi winter Olympics in 2014 took performance-enhancing drugs, and their cheating was covered up by secretly swapping urine samples with official connivance. The Economist, "Anatomy of lies Russia’s covid-19 outbreak is far worse than the Kremlin admits," 21 May 2020 Clase suspended: Reliever Emmanuel Clase, who was the centerpiece of the package the Rangers sent to Cleveland for Corey Kluber, was suspended for 80 games by Major League Baseball on Friday for use of a performance-enhancing substance. Evan Grant, Dallas News, "Source: Rangers will broaden pay cuts to about half of full-time staff," 1 May 2020 Several of the roosters were outfitted with razor blades affixed to their claws, and may have been juiced up with steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs before their fights. Megan Cassidy, SFChronicle.com, "Large alleged cockfighting ring busted in rural Pleasanton," 27 Apr. 2020 Reliance on performance-enhancing drugs and lax oversight at the racetracks has made American racetracks among the deadliest in the world. Paul Nicklen, National Geographic, "When will trainers stop drugging racehorses?," 12 Mar. 2020 The scheme to deceive regulators and horse racing officials regarding the use of performance-enhancing drugs is responsible for the death of at least one horse, prosecutors said Monday. Julia Jacobo And, ABC News, "27 indicted in scheme to illegally dope racehorses in New York," 9 Mar. 2020

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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Time Traveler for enhance

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

29 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Enhance.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/enhance. Accessed 29 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for enhance


How to pronounce enhance (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of enhance

: to increase or improve (something)


en·​hance | \ in-ˈhans How to pronounce enhance (audio) \
enhanced; enhancing

Kids Definition of enhance

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on enhance

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for enhance

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with enhance

Spanish Central: Translation of enhance

Nglish: Translation of enhance for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of enhance for Arabic Speakers

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