adjective \ˈkēn\

: having or showing an ability to think clearly and to understand what is not obvious or simple about something

: very strong and sensitive : highly developed

: very excited about and interested in something

Full Definition of KEEN

a :  having a fine edge or point :  sharp
b :  affecting one as if by cutting <keen sarcasm>
c :  pungent to the sense <a keen scent>
a (1) :  showing a quick and ardent responsiveness :  enthusiastic <a keen swimmer> (2) :  eager <was keen to begin>
b of emotion or feeling :  intense <the keen delight in the chase — F. W. Maitland>
a :  intellectually alert :  having or characteristic of a quick penetrating mind <a keen student> <a keen awareness of the problem>; also :  shrewdly astute
b :  sharply contested <keen debate>
c :  extremely sensitive in perception <keen eyes>
keen·ly adverb
keen·ness \ˈkēn-nəs\ noun
keen on
:  very enthusiastic or excited about <wasn't keen on going>

Examples of KEEN

  1. She's a very keen observer of the political world.
  2. <pilots with especially keen eyesight>
  3. When you've been trying to remember something and you suddenly remember it, the mental pleasure is keen. —Ian Frazier, Atlantic, October 2004

Origin of KEEN

Middle English kene brave, sharp, from Old English cēne brave; akin to Old High German kuoni brave
First Known Use: 13th century


noun \ˈkēn\

Definition of KEEN

:  a lamentation for the dead uttered in a loud wailing voice or sometimes in a wordless cry

Examples of KEEN

  1. <the loud keens of the widows were heard throughout the war-ravaged city>

Origin of KEEN

(see 1keen)
First Known Use: 1830


verb \ˈkēn\

: to make a loud and long cry of sorrow

Full Definition of KEEN

intransitive verb
a :  to make a loud and long cry of sorrow :  to lament with a keen
b :  to make a sound suggestive of a loud cry of sorrow <a keening siren>
:  to lament, mourn, or complain loudly
transitive verb
:  to utter with a loud wailing voice or wordless cry
keen·er noun

Examples of KEEN

  1. mourners keening at a funeral
  2. <victims of the disaster have been keening for weeks about the slowness of governmental aid>

Origin of KEEN

Irish caoinim I lament, weep
First Known Use: 1845


Next Word in the Dictionary: Keene's cementPrevious Word in the Dictionary: KeemunAll Words Near: keen
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