See more synonyms for heighten on Thesaurus.com
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.

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. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for heightened


  1. to make or become high or higher
  2. 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 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