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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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for heightened
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There was a heightened colour in her cheek, and he at once guessed the truth.

    Dorothy's Double G. A. Henty
  • The doctor saw his heightened color, and mistook it for guilt.

    Teddy: Her Book Anna Chapin Ray
  • The awful effect was heightened by the piercing shrieks of the women and the fierce yells of the warriors.

    The Last of the Mohicans James Fenimore Cooper
  • What I really felt—all I really felt—was the flood of joy that comes of heightened emotion.

    The Long Run Edith Wharton
  • I saw every detail of what happened then, emphasized and heightened as though revealed through a slowmotion picture.

British Dictionary definitions for heightened


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 heightened



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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