keen

adjective
\ ˈkēn How to pronounce keen (audio) \

Definition of keen

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : intellectually alert : having or characteristic of a quick penetrating mind a keen student a keen awareness of the problem also : shrewdly astute a keen assessment
b : extremely sensitive in perception keen eyes a keen sense of smell
c : sharply contested keen competition keen debate
2a(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
3 : wonderful, excellent a keen idea
4a : having a fine edge or point : sharp a knife with a keen blade
b : affecting one as if by cutting keen sarcasm
c : pungent to the sense a keen scent
keen on
: very enthusiastic or excited about wasn't keen on going

keen

verb
keened; keening; keens

Definition of keen (Entry 2 of 3)

intransitive verb

1a : 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
2 : to lament, mourn, or complain loudly

transitive verb

: to utter with a loud wailing voice or wordless cry keened our sorrowPunch

keen

noun

Definition of keen (Entry 3 of 3)

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

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Other Words from keen

Adjective

keenly adverb
keenness \ ˈkēn-​nəs How to pronounce keenness (audio) \ noun

Verb

keener noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for keen

Synonyms: Adjective

acute, delicate, fine, perceptive, quick, sensitive, sharp

Synonyms: Verb

beef, bellyache, bitch, bleat, carp, caterwaul, complain, crab, croak, fuss, gripe, grizzle, grouch, grouse, growl, grumble, grump, holler, inveigh, kick, kvetch, maunder [chiefly British], moan, murmur, mutter, nag, repine, scream, squawk, squeal, wail, whimper, whine, whinge [British], yammer, yawp (or yaup), yowl

Synonyms: Noun

groan, howl, lament, lamentation, moan, plaint, wail

Antonyms: Verb

crow, delight, rejoice

Antonyms: Noun

exultation, rejoicing

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Choose the Right Synonym for keen

Adjective

sharp, keen, acute mean having or showing alert competence and clear understanding. sharp implies quick perception, clever resourcefulness, or sometimes questionable trickiness. sharp enough to spot a confidence game keen suggests quickness, enthusiasm, and a penetrating mind. a keen observer of the political scene acute implies a power to penetrate and may suggest subtlety and sharpness of discrimination. an acute sense of style

eager, avid, keen, anxious, athirst mean moved by a strong and urgent desire or interest. eager implies ardor and enthusiasm and sometimes impatience at delay or restraint. eager to get started avid adds to eager the implication of insatiability or greed. avid for new thrills keen suggests intensity of interest and quick responsiveness in action. keen on the latest fashions anxious emphasizes fear of frustration or failure or disappointment. anxious not to make a social blunder athirst stresses yearning but not necessarily readiness for action. athirst for adventure

Examples of keen in a Sentence

Adjective

When you've been trying to remember something and you suddenly remember it, the mental pleasure is keen. — Ian Frazier, Atlantic, October 2004 Indeed, tobacco processors were keen to promote variety even further by saturating and mixing the cut and spun leaf with a miscellany of spices … — Simon Schama, The Embarrassment of Riches, 1988 But Mary wasn't keen on braving the Athens streets alone so Magnus went instead; Mary would do a museum in the morning. — John le Carré, A Perfect Spy, 1986 That he took a keen interest in scientific navigation is indicated by his keeping a daybook or journal (which has not survived), and by making an honest effort to determine longitude. — Samuel Eliot Morison, The European Discovery of America, 1971 The keen clear wind swept in on his left cheek, and as he bore on the helm so the Sophie answered, quicker and more nervous than he had expected. — Patrick O'Brian, Master and Commander, 1970 Planting himself squarely before the two tall cowboys who were standing, he looked straight into their lean, bronzed faces. He spared a full moment for that keen cool gaze before he spoke. — Zane Grey, Desert Gold, 1913 She's a very keen observer of the political world. pilots with especially keen eyesight

Verb

mourners keening at a funeral victims of the disaster have been keening for weeks about the slowness of governmental aid

Noun

the loud keens of the widows were heard throughout the war-ravaged city
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Hair visionary Sam McKnight is also keen on the parallels between the two eras. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "Modern Victorian Updos Are Taking Over Instagram—Here’s How to Do Them Right," 13 Mar. 2019 In other words, of course celebrities are keen on closing their paychecks for weddings. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "You Have All the Money. Why Are You Sponsoring Your Wedding?," 5 Dec. 2018 His startup arrives at an opportune time, as shoppers are keen on value. Chavie Lieber, Vox, "Italic sells brandless luxury goods from manufactures for Celine, Prada, and Gucci.," 15 Nov. 2018 Ahead of this week's retail launch, Nvidia has been keen on comparing its $799 RTX 2080 to the GTX 1080, but our testing has shown that the 1080 Ti would have been a better comparison point. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Nvidia RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti review: A tale of two very expensive graphics cards," 19 Sep. 2018 Moscow is keen on strengthening ties with Turkey, at a time when Ankara's relations are at their lowest with the United States. Fox News, "Last stand: Syria's rebel Idlib prepares for a losing battle," 16 Sep. 2018 The country, however, is keen to project itself on the world stage. Deb Riechmann, The Seattle Times, "Trump to meet North Korean leader Feb. 27-28 in Vietnam," 6 Feb. 2019 The company is keen to test the fuel efficiency of its aerodynamic design, the behavior of the new composite fuselage, and how the materials deal with the exceedingly high temperatures they'll be exposed to during flight. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "Supersonic Airliners Are About to Take Off. Again.," 7 Jan. 2019 The average computer isn’t as keen as a 16-year-old. Dan Rosenbaum, Ars Technica, "Why driving is hard—even for AIs," 7 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

With each side protective of its secrets, and possibly keen to spread disinformation, the full story may never be known. Fares Akram, The Seattle Times, "Palestinians offer new details of Israel’s botched Gaza raid," 12 Dec. 2018 The Mirror claim that the Frenchman has agreed to join Arsene Wenger's side, with the Gunners keen to wrap up the deal this month for a fee believed to be in the region of £35m, although Los Blancos want £52.3m for the 30-year-old. SI.com, "Report: Arsenal Strikes Deal to Bring Karim Benzema to the Emirates," 27 Jan. 2018 With both United and the Gunners keen to make a deal happen, a Premier League arrival is a very feasible option for Sokratis - but nothing has emerged regarding his personal preference just yet. SI.com, "Jose Mourinho Reportedly Phones Arsenal Target & Dortmund Star as Man Utd Eye Potential Deal," 24 May 2018 Southampton are preparing a January swoop for Spartak Moscow winger Quincy Promes, with the player keen on a move to England, according to reports. SI.com, "Southampton Fight to Take Lead Over Liverpool in Race for £30m-Rated Winger Quincy Promes," 19 Jan. 2018 The Toffees are not the only club interested in signing the midfielder though, with a number of 'top six' clubs allegedly keen. SI.com, "Watford Reject Everton's €30m Bid for Star Player as Toffees Look to Bolster Midfield Squad Depth," 13 July 2018 His outstanding form this season has seen him shoot to prominence, with a number of clubs from around Europe keen on acquiring his services. SI.com, "Real Madrid Closing in on €14m Deal for Highly-Rated Ukraine International Andriy Lunin," 20 June 2018 However, the Eagles are not the only club interested in Loftus-Cheek's services, with fellow Premier League sides West Ham and Everton reportedly keen on signing the 22-year-old. SI.com, "Crystal Palace Handed Boost in Chase for Chelsea and England Star as New Season Approaches," 6 July 2018 Wilshere has also been linked with a move abroad, with Turkish Super League side Fenerbache reportedly keen on the midfielder's services. SI.com, "Dean Ashton Urges West Ham Not to Sign International Midfielder Due to Injury Record," 6 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Thousands of men, keen of brain and firm of purpose, are enlisted on both sides, spending vast sums of money, and operating entire navies on the seas, and airplanes and motor fleets on land. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "Rewind: What Guarding Uncle Sam's Borders Was Like in 1925," 11 Feb. 2019 It is reported that United are not the only side keen on Kovacic, with Juventus, Inter and Tottenham also reportedly interested in his signature. SI.com, "Man Utd Interested in Real Madrid's Mateo Kovacic as Jose Mourinho Targets Midfield Additions," 5 Feb. 2018 Lacy, a keen and experienced motorcyclist, was killed Nov. 30 in a motorcycle crash in Botswana. Will Higgins, Indianapolis Star, "Deaths of 2017: Indiana celebrities and 'everyday Hoosiers' we lost," 26 Dec. 2017 Fenway, an all black shorthair, was overweight, slow-moving and keen on sleeping 23 hours a day. Unless food was involved. Stefan Stevenson, star-telegram, "Saying goodbye to a food-loving friend, Fenway the cat," 4 Nov. 2017 Well, that's a little more adventure than my Keens have seen. Christopher Elliott, USA TODAY, "The best shoes for your summer trip," 28 May 2017 His voice has the South in it, and the hysterical keen of a chainsaw. Rachel Aviv, The New Yorker, "Herman Melville, Volume I," 27 Mar. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'keen.' 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 keen

Adjective

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4a

Verb

1845, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

Noun

1830, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for keen

Adjective and Noun

Middle English kene brave, sharp, from Old English cēne brave; akin to Old High German kuoni brave

Verb

Irish caoinim I lament, weep

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Statistics for keen

Last Updated

14 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for keen

The first known use of keen was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for keen

keen

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of keen

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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

keen

verb

English Language Learners Definition of keen (Entry 2 of 2)

old-fashioned + literary : to make a loud and long cry of sorrow

keen

adjective
\ ˈkēn How to pronounce keen (audio) \
keener; keenest

Kids Definition of keen

1 : having a fine edge or point : sharp a keen knife
2 : having or showing mental sharpness a keen observation
3 : very sensitive (as in seeing, smelling, or hearing) keen eyesight
4 : full of enthusiasm : eager … everybody was very keen to hear details of what had happened …— J. K. Rowling, Goblet of Fire
5 : seeming to cut or sting a keen wind

Other Words from keen

keenly adverb
keenness noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on keen

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for keen

Spanish Central: Translation of keen

Nglish: Translation of keen for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of keen for Arabic Speakers

Comments on keen

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likely to have or produce good results

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