heighten

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

Definition of heighten

transitive verb

1a : 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
2a : to raise high or higher : elevate
b : to raise above the ordinary or trite
3 obsolete : elate

intransitive verb

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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web The entire structure of this movie is admirably tight, and the filmmakers continuously add extra constraints to further heighten the tension and build genuine suspense. Ars Staff, Ars Technica, "The 15 best films of a bizarre (and probably historic) year for film," 19 Dec. 2020 The group said the pandemic made his release even more urgent, citing his health and chronic health issues like asthma, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease as factors that heighten his risk for severe illness or death from Covid-19. Scottie Andrew, CNN, "A Florida man who spent 31 years in prison for a nonviolent marijuana crime has been released," 9 Dec. 2020 The composition of Congress will also heighten the tensions between centrist and left-liberal Democrats. W. James Antle Iii, Washington Examiner, "How the Biden coalition could come unglued," 3 Dec. 2020 My goal is to heighten awareness, motivate action and spark an honest conversation about the legacy of racial injustice in America. New York Times, "Hidden in Plain Sight: The Ghosts of Segregation," 30 Nov. 2020 Herein, the advantage of decades of awareness of the import of the mere name Dracula serves only to heighten the dramatic tension. Jack Butler, National Review, "The Immortal Dracula," 31 Oct. 2020 The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose last week for a second-straight week to 778,000, evidence that the U.S. economy and job market remain under strain as coronavirus cases surge and colder weather heighten the risks. Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, "Jobless filings up again, hit 778,000," 26 Nov. 2020 The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose last week to 778,000, evidence that the U.S. economy and job market remain under strain as coronavirus cases surge and colder weather heighten the risks. Paul Wiseman, chicagotribune.com, "US unemployment claims rise to 778,000 as COVID-19 pandemic worsens," 25 Nov. 2020 The Trump administration appears to be using Taiwan, Hong Kong and other issues to heighten the level of confrontation in China-U.S. relations, said Su Hao, professor of international relations at China Foreign Affairs University. Fox News, "China condemns new US sanctions, sale of military equipment to Taiwan," 9 Dec. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of heighten

1523, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

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Time Traveler for heighten

Time Traveler

The first known use of heighten was in 1523

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Statistics for heighten

Last Updated

17 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Heighten.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heighten. Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for heighten

heighten

verb
How to pronounce heighten (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of heighten

: to increase the amount, degree, or extent of (something)

heighten

verb
height·​en | \ ˈhī-tᵊn How to pronounce heighten (audio) \
heightened; heightening

Kids Definition of heighten

: to make greater : increase The film heightened their interest in Alaska.

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Comments on heighten

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