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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

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web
But absorbing all those productivity gains for themselves might not be an easy task for companies, as some workers are already applying their overemployment skills honed during the pandemic and taking advantage of A.I. to work multiple jobs at once, a fact that wasn’t lost on Clark. Tristan Bove, Fortune, 16 May 2023 Pay close attention to the form cues, focus on elbow extension, and add them to your routines to hone strength and add more mass. Triceps Pressdown Pressdowns are one of the most popular triceps exercises, for good reason. Men's Health, 8 May 2023 The guild’s focus in this contract negotiation was honed by the results of a working-conditions survey sent out last year that received more than 7,000 responses, Verrone said. Cynthia Littleton, Variety, 4 May 2023 The eight-member boy band known for honing its intense choreography and showmanship in Los Angeles dance studios wasted little time after COVID-19 restrictions lifted stateside to engage a hungry U.S. audience in 2022. Jeff Benjamin, Billboard, 24 Apr. 2023 Since branching out on her own, the designer has honed her style, which focuses on color and texture. Jessica Cherner, House Beautiful, 20 Apr. 2023 Born in 1881, Picasso honed his talents at a young age. Carolyn Hagler, Smithsonian Magazine, 17 Apr. 2023 Akiyama wants to see the PRIMO algorithm tested more thoroughly, and Di Matteo emphasizes that the approach will become stronger as scientists continue to hone their understanding of the physics that govern black holes. Meghan Bartels, Scientific American, 13 Apr. 2023 If the work is good, really carefully made and honed, and if the writer is willing to push to get it out there, readers will respond and the book will catch on. Hazlitt, 12 Apr. 2023 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 29 May. 2023.

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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