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


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

These findings suggest that preventing overfishing and rebuilding overfished populations will enhance resilience and maximize long-term food and income potential. Chris Free, The Conversation, "Ocean warming has fisheries on the move, helping some but hurting more," 19 Aug. 2019 Weather notwithstanding, hosting the MLS All-Star Game on a rainy Wednesday night was certainly a commendation to Orlando’s reputation as a soccer destination, but that reputation can only be enhanced and perpetuated by Orlando City. Mike Bianchi, Pro Soccer USA, "Orlando City needs to build on soccer momentum created by MLS All-Star Game," 2 Aug. 2019 In an effort to enhance safety, increase competition and attract an additional original engine manufacturer, IndyCar has announced a new hybrid technology initiative to be implemented in 2022. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "IndyCar introducing hybrid technology, delays new engine debut to 2022," 1 Aug. 2019 Javier Zarracina/Vox And elsewhere in the plan, Inslee vows to better enforce the Clean Air Act, to enhance and better enforce chemical safety laws, and to better fund and enforce the Superfund program. David Roberts, Vox, "The 4 best ideas from Jay Inslee’s new climate justice plan," 30 July 2019 For some of our fave Zendaya snaps, the Spider-Man actor used natural lighting to capture an inner glow, which was enhanced by the outer glow of the sun. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "The Best Of Zendaya’s Instagram Selfies," 24 July 2019 Wescover is akin to a digital gallery for art lovers that’s enhanced by a mapping partnership with the Google Lens app — one of just a handful of companies allowed to push its content onto this search engine behemoth. Catherine Bigelow, SFChronicle.com, "Recoding retail: Women bring digital savvy to art, pop-ups and fashion," 16 July 2019 Their research team used field research coupled with high-resolution imagery, enhanced by LiDAR —light in the form of a pulsed laser—to accurately map where milkweed already grows across four major metropolitan areas (Chicago, Minneapolis-St. National Geographic, "Monarch butterflies are dying out. Here’s how cities can help.," 20 June 2019 This time around, Bailey wanted to enhance her approach and shared that there are actually two advertisements — one large and one small — currently standing in the Atlanta metropolitan area with the same message. Lexi Vollero, EW.com, "Actress responds after Tyler Perry shoots down her billboard audition: 'I had to take a chance'," 6 June 2019

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

22 Aug 2019

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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 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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with enhance

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for enhance

Spanish Central: Translation of enhance

Nglish: Translation of enhance for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of enhance for Arabic Speakers

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).


to make or get by devious means

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