verb (1)
\ˈhōn \
honed; honing

Definition of hone 

(Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to sharpen or smooth with a whetstone

2 : to make more acute, intense, or effective : whet helped her hone her comic timing— Patricia Bosworth



Definition of hone (Entry 2 of 3)


verb (2)
honed; honing

Definition of hone (Entry 3 of 3)

intransitive verb

1 dialect : yearn often used with for or after

2 dialect : grumble, moan

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Other Words from hone

Verb (1)

honer noun

Examples of hone in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Murray can learn the nuances of the Spurs’ offense over time, the parlor tricks Parker honed over 16-plus seasons. Jeff Mcdonald, San Antonio Express-News, "Changing of the point guards: How Dejounte Murray was built to succeed a legend," 21 Feb. 2018 And the same tactics honed during the 2016 presidential election carried over into the runup toward the 2018 midterm congressional vote. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Facebook hired a new public defender, and he should start with WhatsApp," 20 Oct. 2018 Fans say his tough line, honed as foreign minister during the 2015-16 refugee crisis, blunts the appeal of the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ), the junior coalition partner to his centre-right People’s Party. The Economist, "Europe is moving towards the tough immigration policies of Sebastian Kurz," 5 July 2018 Bosses with a work ethic honed during the Great Depression groused about baby boomers. Washington Post, "Business owners find communication helps with young staffers," 20 June 2018 Things on the menu seem simple, like shrimp and grits and bread pudding—but behind that simplicity is high-level execution from a chef who honed his skills in fine dining. Stephanie Burt, Condé Nast Traveler, "28 Best Restaurants in Charleston," 2 May 2018 Now that production has scaled up, Anderson is concentrating on ceramics, a craft he’s been honing for 20 years, with plans to debut his first collection through the showroom this spring. Jennifer Alfano, WSJ, "Three Power Couples Discuss What It Takes to Collaborate Successfully," 9 Nov. 2018 She was never trained as an actress, but her eye for style was honed among the sharpest arbiters of the day. Cindy Dampier, chicagotribune.com, "Ali McGraw on going gray, getting a uniform and channeling great style at every age," 18 June 2018 With Jones’ own free agency looming, he's honed his sense of the business behind the game, both in terms of young stars hitting free agency for the first time and what the market has in store for veterans like himself. Jon Meoli, baltimoresun.com, "Six years after no-regrets early extension with Adam Jones, Orioles have yet to return to that well," 26 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But this latest iteration also has a sharper edge, honed by the ascendency of President Trump and hype surrounding new technology like AI. James Vincent, The Verge, "Browser plug-ins that spot fake news show the difficulty of tackling the ‘information apocalypse’," 23 Aug. 2018 With guidance from Rustbelt owner Sutton and, eventually, his production partner Young, GVF began honing its sound and disciplining its approach. Brian Mccollum, Detroit Free Press, "Young and hungry, Greta Van Fleet returns to Detroit as a rock-conquering hero," 20 May 2018 Virtually every major comic from Richard Pryor to Robin Williams to Jerry Seinfeld used the club as a stepping-stone and returned to hone their acts after gaining fame. kansascity, "Final Chapters for April 15, 2018: Milos Forman, Yvonne Staples, Susan Anspach | The Kansas City Star," 14 Apr. 2018 The process gives the changes legitimacy and forces advocates to hone their arguments and persuade their fellow citizens. Anchorage Daily News, "Repeal the Second Amendment? Retired Justice Stevens makes at least one good point.," 31 Mar. 2018 Thomas had accepted a tea, and the three of them were sitting without speaking, the couple calm in this disruption to what looked like a familiar, well-honed daily routine. David Fettling, Longreads, "Uncomfortable Silences: A Walk in Myanmar," 29 Mar. 2018 The album is striking for its unusually well-honed music, for which Dacus is quick to credit guitarist and arranger Jacob Blizard — a Berklee College of Music alum — for helping flesh out her ideas. George Varga, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Lucy Dacus, at 22, is a rising indie-rock star, lapsed Christian and former agnostic," 14 Mar. 2018 Historically, cheerleading has been a passion project for women looking to both hone their dance skills and serve their communities and country. Ryan P. Smith, Smithsonian, "A Classic American Cheerleading Troupe Tumbles to Smithsonian Immortality," 1 Mar. 2018 Our award-winning journalists help community members to draw out authentic, personal experiences and hone them into engaging dialogue. Sarah Riley, The Courier-Journal, "Meet the talented journalists coming to Louisville Storytellers Project," 2 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hone.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of hone

Verb (1)

1788, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined above

Verb (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for hone

Verb (1)

see hone entry 2


Middle English, from Old English hān stone; akin to Old Norse hein whetstone, Latin cot-, cos, Sanskrit śiśāti he whets

Verb (2)

Middle French hoigner to grumble

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Statistics for hone

Last Updated

15 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hone

The first known use of hone was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for hone


\ˈhōn \
honed; honing

Kids Definition of hone

: to sharpen with or as if with a fine abrasive stone

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More from Merriam-Webster on hone

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hone

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hone

Spanish Central: Translation of hone

Nglish: Translation of hone for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hone for Arabic Speakers

Comments on hone

What made you want to look up hone? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a knickknack or trinket

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