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[hahyt-n] /ˈhaɪt n/
verb (used with object)
to increase the height of; make higher.
to increase the degree or amount of; augment:
Cézanne's death heightened the value of his paintings.
to strengthen, deepen, or intensify:
to heighten the plot of a story; to heighten one's awareness or appreciation; to heighten one's suffering.
to bring out the important features of, as in a drawing:
to heighten a picture with Chinese white.
verb (used without object)
to become higher.
to increase:
The tension heightened as the enemy forces advanced.
to brighten or become more intense.
Origin of heighten
1515-25; height + -en1
Related forms
heightener, noun
unheightened, adjective
Synonym Study
1. See elevate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for heighten
  • Paint the ceiling a lighter color to bring the eye up and heighten the space.
  • Stormy seas heighten the effects of the currents, making the whirlpools even more spectacular.
  • So the team of scientists tested the snails to see if methamphetamines might heighten snail recall.
  • Another biggie is stress, which is known to take a toll on immune systems and heighten risk to various ailments.
  • At the moment, the country is struggling to find out how to heighten the educational level.
  • Population growth and sea-level rise will heighten the risk in this area.
  • Similar styles of seating could be used inside and out to heighten the connection between interior and exterior spaces.
  • Such participation will directly familiarize you with the process and should heighten your comfort level.
  • She created these phenomenal bouquets with herbs added to heighten the fragrance.
  • Making select home renovations can heighten your family's comfort level while saving energy.
British Dictionary definitions for heighten


to make or become high or higher
to make or become more extreme or intense
Derived Forms
heightened, adjective
heightener, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for heighten

mid-15c., heightenen "to exalt, to honor or raise to high position," from height + -en (1). Related: Heightened; heightening.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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