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verb (1)

honed; honing

transitive verb

: to sharpen or smooth with a whetstone
: to make more acute, intense, or effective : whet
helped her hone her comic timingPatricia Bosworth
honer noun


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3 of 3

verb (2)

honed; honing

intransitive verb

dialect : yearn
often used with for or after
dialect : grumble, moan

Examples of hone in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
For others, demonstrations of gracious defeat should be honed. Glenn Whipp, Los Angeles Times, 9 Feb. 2024 Instagram honed its Reels product, ditched its shop, and embarked on a PR campaign promising that the app was hearing and responding to complaints. Thomas Germain / Gizmodo, Quartz, 6 Feb. 2024 At Aspen Mountain, the most challenging of the four mountains, lessons are available for those wishing to hone their turning skills on the resort's blue runs or master its tricker, more advanced sections. Brandon Perlman, Travel + Leisure, 29 Jan. 2024 After years spent honing her style while also working as a curator and art writer, she’s lately made waves with her vibrant, almost spiritual oil paintings of urns, columns, jaunty hands and theater curtains framing ombré skies and conspicuous moons. Caitie Kelly Kin Woo Kate Guadagnino Nicole Demarco Megan O’Sullivan, New York Times, 25 Jan. 2024 Millennial and Gen Z workers thought their abilities in active listening, time management, and judgment and decision-making needed to be honed to improve their productivity. Ryan Hogg, Fortune Europe, 29 Jan. 2024 Israel’s military is already fully activated and flush with reservists who have honed their fighting skills in Gaza. John Hudson, Washington Post, 19 Jan. 2024 This experiment showed that researcher-policymaker partnerships can be effective not only for bridging research and policy, but legislators and their staff may find value in the service for honing empirical evidence pertaining to their bills. Taylor Scott, The Conversation, 17 Jan. 2024 In doing so, these countries and groups deepened their military and intelligence capabilities and honed the strategic logic of their alliance. Narges Bajoghli, Foreign Affairs, 17 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hone.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun and Verb (1)

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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near hone

Cite this Entry

“Hone.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hone. Accessed 24 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


honed; honing
: to sharpen with or as if with a fine abrasive stone
: to make more intense or effective
top athletes honing their skills

More from Merriam-Webster on hone

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