Checking the verb in the dictionary, I found no use of this verb with "mood."

Can you say "to enhance one´s mood" in the sense of making it better?

In what contexts is the verb usually found?

Posted 13 December 2001

The verb "enhance," which means to improve the value, quality or attractiveness of something, is used in sentences like these:


"She had a sweetness to her face, a warmth that was enhanced by luminous dark eyes."
(Gioia Diliberto) (from The American Heritage Dictionary of The English Language, 3e, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1996)


"They'll be keen to enhance their reputation abroad." (Collins COBUILD, HarperCollins, 1995)


"The superb sets are enhanced by Bobby Crossman's marvelous costumes." (ibid.)

In all of these sentences the noun that is enhanced already has some positive value. In (a), "warmth" is a positive quality, and gets better with enhancement. In (b), the "reputation" that's about to be enhanced must already be good. If it were otherwise, the verb could not be "enhance" - it would have to be "repair" or even "improve." In (c), we know that the sets are superb and will become even more so with the marvelous costumes.

I thought I had heard the term "mood enhancer" to refer to psychiatric medications. However, I learned from my source for psychiatric terminology that the medications I was thinking of are referred to not as "mood enhancers," but as "mood elevators." The meaning of upward movement and of improvement in "mood elevator" is carried by the word "elevator," and is not intrinsic in the word "mood." This reinforces the idea that in order to be "enhanced," something has to carry a positive value to begin with. "Mood" does not carry a positive meaning - it is neutral. To signify the kind of mood, you need an adjective: a good mood, a bad mood, a cheery mood, a terrible mood.

I was not wrong, though, about the existence of the phrase "mood enhancer." Although "mood" does not combine with "enhance" in concordances, as you have noticed, a search on the web brought up sites for St. John's wart, Peruvian ginseng, and vitamin and nutritional supplements, all of which were called "mood enhancers." These are homeopathic products, not medications prescribed by medical doctors. I think that it is quite creative thinking to ascribe the word "enhancer" to "mood." It does not, however, seem to be in line with other uses of the neutral "mood," nor the "added value" of "enhancement."

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