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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
First recorded in 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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for heighten
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • If it is an imperfect word, no external circumstance can heighten its value as poetry.

    The Lyric John Drinkwater
  • The Gothinians, to heighten their disgrace, are forced to labour in the iron mines.

  • It's an axiom, I think, that to heighten a nation's wisdom you must lower its franchise.

    The Stark Munro Letters J. Stark Munro
  • Possibly she was so choosy in order to heighten her importance.

  • Some old dyers use Brazil wood to heighten the red of madder.

    Vegetable Dyes

    Ethel M. Mairet
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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