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)

Nearby words

  1. heigh-ho,
  2. height,
  3. height of contour,
  4. height of land,
  5. height-to-paper,
  6. heighth,
  7. heightism,
  8. heilbronn,
  9. heiligenschein,
  10. heilong jiang

Origin of heighten

First recorded in 1515–25; height + -en1

Related formsheight·en·er, nounun·height·ened, adjective

Synonym study

1. See elevate.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for heighten

British Dictionary definitions for heighten



to make or become high or higher
to make or become more extreme or intense
Derived Formsheightened, adjectiveheightener, 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

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