View synonyms for heighten


[ hahyt-n ]

verb (used with object)

  1. to increase the height of; make higher.
  2. to increase the degree or amount of; augment:

    Cézanne's death heightened the value of his paintings.

  3. to strengthen, deepen, or intensify:

    to heighten the plot of a story; to heighten one's awareness or appreciation; to heighten one's suffering.

  4. to bring out the important features of, as in a drawing:

    to heighten a picture with Chinese white.

verb (used without object)

  1. to become higher.
  2. to increase:

    The tension heightened as the enemy forces advanced.

  3. to brighten or become more intense.


/ ˈhaɪtən /


  1. to make or become high or higher
  2. to make or become more extreme or intense
“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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Derived Forms

  • ˈheightener, noun
  • ˈheightened, adjective
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Other Words From

  • heighten·er noun
  • un·heightened adjective
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Word History and Origins

Origin of heighten1

First recorded in 1515–25; height + -en 1
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Synonym Study

See elevate.
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Example Sentences

These concerns are heightened by the FDA’s premature EUA of hydroxychloroquine prior to testing last spring, an approval the FDA later withdrew.

From Fortune

A pandemic-induced economic collapse will only heighten the vulnerabilities and speed the transition, reducing to nothing whatever thin margin of financial protection has kept people in place.

Long-term care residents also are at heightened risk of institutional abuse and neglect.

They say the fact that the utility is getting out of the power-buying business, and will be relying on the 10 percent return it gets to build things, heightens the importance of the charge.

Instead, an unusual number of problems have occurred — some serious enough that they have made it harder for people to vote and even put them at a heightened risk for infection.

Dirty talk can be a huge part of foreplay and even heighten the experience of sex for some.

Or really more that Instagram is no different than these paintings of yore that served to heighten status.

“AIDS is effecting the world, so I wanted to heighten the awareness that we are all in the same boat,” Mooney said.

And the fact the line was moved from a scene in the middle of the film to one at the end only served to heighten its impact.

He has spoken about how he would listen to her to smooth over the rough days, or heighten his joy.

She is sometimes tempted to heighten a little the incidents, in order to get on a little better, and to make more impression.

After the feeling had come to her, to heighten the sensation she espied a little card hung under the small mirror on the wall.

The youthful pair start beneath the smile of a blue sky, flecked with milk-while clouds merely to heighten the effect.

I cannot say that it will increase our pleasure, but it will certainly heighten the interest of the morning excursion.

Moreover, an action of Agathocles himself served to heighten the anger of the multitude and of Tlepolemus.