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

Examples of heighten in a Sentence

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 The review, which researchers presented on April 7 at an American College of Cardiology (ACC) annual conference, suggests that the risk is especially heightened for women. Maggie O'Neill, Health, 10 Apr. 2024 The University of Arizona, then the only university in the state, vehemently opposed the change for years and the issue only heightened the rivalry between the two institutions. Laura Daniella Sepulveda, The Arizona Republic, 10 Apr. 2024 Last Friday’s job figures for March heightened the conundrum. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, 9 Apr. 2024 Trouble in Times Square Public awareness of the gang’s presence in New York was heightened earlier this year by a viral video showing alleged gang members beating up a couple of police officers in Times Square. Antonio Maria Delgado, Miami Herald, 9 Apr. 2024 The covert operation is now heightening concerns that Tehran is seeking to turn the West Bank into the next flashpoint in the long-simmering shadow war between Israel and Iran. Eric Schmitt, New York Times, 9 Apr. 2024 Many were on street corners, where buildings can be subjected to twisting forces that heighten damage. Evan Bush, NBC News, 4 Apr. 2024 The biggest reason for this is what's called the entourage effect, where the other components of the cannabis plant that are less refined work in tandem with the CBD to heighten the effects. Chrono Therapeutics, Discover Magazine, 3 Apr. 2024 But heightened Hezbollah attacks could be one means of retaliation. Jane Arraf, NPR, 1 Apr. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'heighten.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 13 Apr. 2024.

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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