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From Middle English heightenen, hyghtenen, equivalent to height +‎ -en (verbal suffix).


  • IPA(key): /ˈhaɪ̯.tən/, [ˈhaɪ̯tn̩], [ˈhaɪ̯ʔn̩]
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -aɪtən
  • Homophone: Huyton


heighten (third-person singular simple present heightens, present participle heightening, simple past and past participle heightened)

  1. To make high; to raise higher; to elevate.
    • 2021 June 2, “Network News: Cambrian Line bridge is raised”, in RAIL, number 932, page 23:
      Black Bridge, near Machynlleth, is being heightened by one metre in a £3.6 million project to reduce delays caused by flooding.
  2. To advance, increase, augment, make larger, more intense, stronger etc.
    to heighten beauty
    to heighten a flavor or a tint
    to heighten awareness
    to heighten tension
    the excitement heightened
    “That’s heightened by the impact of climate change,” she added.
    • 2006 December 6, Ashley Seager, “Employment rise gives chancellor a boost”, in The Guardian[1]:
      If Mr Brown chooses, he could raise his estimate of the economy's "trend" rate of growth in the coming years and so heighten his hopes of tax revenues.