heighten

verb

height·​en ˈhī-tᵊn How to pronounce heighten (audio)
heightened; heightening ˈhīt-niŋ How to pronounce heighten (audio)
ˈhī-tᵊn-iŋ

transitive verb

1
a
: to increase the amount or degree of : augment
b
: to make brighter or more intense : deepen
c
: to bring out more strongly : point up
d
: to make more acute : sharpen
2
a
: to raise high or higher : elevate
b
: to raise above the ordinary or trite
3
obsolete : elate

intransitive verb

1
archaic : grow, rise
2
a
: to become great or greater in amount, degree, or extent
b
: to become brighter or more intense

Example Sentences

The plan will only heighten tensions between the two groups. This tragedy has heightened our awareness of the need for improved safety measures. Tensions between the two groups have heightened.
Recent Examples on the Web Jess Dankert, a supply chain expert at the Retail Industry Leaders Association, said a strike could also heighten the country’s economic issues — raising prices for consumers just as inflation appears to be cooling off. Eli M. Rosenberg, NBC News, 17 Nov. 2022 Fiery passion could heighten the drama in our lives today. Chicago Tribune, 15 Nov. 2022 Servers heighten the experience with a special table-side experience, starting with a white chocolate replica of The Shard, on top of a platter filled with dry ice. Rachel King, Fortune, 12 Nov. 2022 The catastrophe might also heighten tensions between crabbers and larger-scale industrial trawlers, which many blame for the situation in the first place. David Faris, The Week, 20 Oct. 2022 The fear that many people already felt going into this election - a fear of violence, a fear for the country’s future - will only heighten in the weeks to come. Anchorage Daily News, 3 Oct. 2022 The series instead raises the stakes in various ways to heighten the drama. Washington Post, 31 Mar. 2022 These artistic forms typical of East Asia take objects from the natural world and present them in ways that heighten their contemplativeness or aesthetic appeal. Carolina A. Mirandacolumnist, Los Angeles Times, 29 Oct. 2022 That said, there are some specific risk factors that heighten your likelihood of developing psoriatic arthritis. Mara Santilli, SELF, 12 Sep. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'heighten.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1523, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of heighten was in 1523

Dictionary Entries Near heighten

Cite this Entry

“Heighten.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heighten. Accessed 6 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

heighten

verb

height·​en ˈhīt-ᵊn How to pronounce heighten (audio)
heightened; heightening ˈhīt-niŋ How to pronounce heighten (audio)
-ᵊn-iŋ
1
: to make or become brighter or greater
heightened the citizens' awareness
2
: to raise high or higher : elevate

More from Merriam-Webster on heighten

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