from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To raise or increase the quantity or degree of; intensify.
  • transitive v. To make high or higher; raise.
  • intransitive v. To rise or increase in quantity or degree; intensify.
  • intransitive v. To become high or higher; rise.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To make high; to raise higher; to elevate.
  • v. To carry forward; to advance; to increase; to augment; to aggravate; to intensify; to render more conspicuous; -- used of things, good or bad; as, to heighten beauty; to heighten a flavor or a tint.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To make high; to raise higher; to elevate.
  • transitive v. To carry forward; to advance; to increase; to augment; to aggravate; to intensify; to render more conspicuous; -- used of things, good or bad

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To make higher; increase the vertical elevation of.
  • To make higher in amount or degree; increase; augment; intensify: as, to heighten an effect.
  • To make high or higher in feeling or condition; elevate or exalt, as the mind or a person.
  • Synonyms Lift, Exalt, etc. See raise.
  • To become higher; increase; augment.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. make (one's senses) more acute
  • v. become more extreme
  • v. increase the height of
  • v. make more extreme; raise in quantity, degree, or intensity
  • v. increase
  • v. make more intense, stronger, or more marked


height +‎ -en (Wiktionary)


  • Support for profiling might approach majority levels among both groups should an actual attack or close call heighten fears. News

  • I've been to Fort Benning for the SOA Watch protests and I am unsure how they could "heighten" the security.

    20 Year Anniversary of SOA Watch. (Blog for Democracy)

  • GROSS: Did coming of age artistically during the AIDS epidemic just kind of heighten your sense of mortality?

    Antony Hegarty's Otherworldly Sound

  • I think the other thing is that if he ` s as disturbed as he seems to be, if he ` s a sociopath, often these guys are highly sexualized, and so they do engage in unusual sexual activities to kind of heighten their excitement in life.

    CNN Transcript Jun 16, 2006

  • And that has been now a major part of what John Kerry has been saying as he reaches out into the middle, and that is, hey, this man, George Bush, came to Washington to kind of heighten the tone, and he hasn't.

    CNN Transcript Jun 7, 2004

  • So, that's going to kind of heighten their curiosity, if you will.

    CNN Transcript Jun 27, 2002

  • The mountains speak to me of my desire to "heighten", to continuously elevate my thoughts and actions to a spiritual peak.

    New at

  • "heighten" the purely dramatic element and to "move that admiration which is the delight of serious plays" and to which "a bare imitation" will not suffice.

    English literary criticism

  • "heighten," or "escalate" the basic meanings of nouns on the one hand, and verbs and adjectives on the other, by qualifying them with adjectives and adverbs, respectively.

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol XIX No 3

  • Although we lack systematic information about exactly what is discussed in these religious networks, it is possible that religious friends are more likely to raise moral issues, principles, and obligations than friends from a nonreligious context and thus to heighten your own attentiveness to such concerns.

    American Grace


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