en·​hance | \ in-ˈhan(t)s How to pronounce enhance (audio) , en- \
enhanced; enhancing

Essential Meaning of enhance

: to increase or improve (something) You can enhance the flavor of the dish by using fresh herbs. The image has been digitally enhanced to show more detail. See More ExamplesThe company is looking to enhance its earnings potential. drugs that enhance [=improve] performance = performance-enhancing drugsHide

Full 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

Other Words from enhance

enhancement \ in-​ˈhan(t)-​smənt How to pronounce enhance (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 This is where digital IDs stand to streamline all the different ways users already interact with the various technologies that enhance our lives today. Alastair Johnson, Forbes, 15 Nov. 2021 Grant funding is now available from the Carlsbad Charitable Foundation, an affiliate of The San Diego Foundation, for projects that enhance the quality of life in Carlsbad. Laura Groch, San Diego Union-Tribune, 14 Nov. 2021 Here are some current hits and the samples that enhance them. Melissa Ruggieri, USA TODAY, 31 Oct. 2021 There are perks to unlock that enhance Star-Lord’s capabilities. Brittany Vincent, BGR, 25 Oct. 2021 Another goal of the partnership, Lawrence said, is to acquire works that enhance connections between the Huntington’s galleries, library and gardens. Los Angeles Times, 18 Oct. 2021 This response is a testament to the filmmaking craft of Hwang and his collaborators: This is an exciting (if at times stomach-churning) yarn, told with flourishes that enhance everything that’s happening. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 13 Oct. 2021 Remember, a lot of the things that enhance physical health also support emotional well-being. John Duffy, CNN, 10 Oct. 2021 Researchers are calling on Congress to seize this moment to pass legislation that would enhance their ability to do outside research of social media platforms. Washington Post, 6 Oct. 2021

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

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

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Dictionary Entries Near enhance



enhanced recovery

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Last Updated

28 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Enhance.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/enhance. Accessed 8 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for enhance


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on enhance

Nglish: Translation of enhance for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of enhance for Arabic Speakers


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