rip·​en | \ ˈrī-pən How to pronounce ripen (audio) , ˈrī-pᵊm\
ripened; ripening\ ˈrī-​pə-​niŋ How to pronounce ripening (audio) , ˈrīp-​niŋ \

Definition of ripen

intransitive verb

: to grow or become ripe

transitive verb

1 : to make ripe
2a : to bring to completeness or perfection
b : to age or cure (cheese) to develop characteristic flavor, odor, body, texture, and color
c : to improve flavor and tenderness of (beef or game) by aging under refrigeration

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Other Words from ripen

ripener \ ˈrī-​pə-​nər How to pronounce ripener (audio) , ˈrīp-​nər \ noun

Examples of ripen in a Sentence

The tomatoes finished ripening on the windowsill. You can ripen the fruit by placing it in a paper bag and storing it at room temperature for a few days.

Recent Examples on the Web

In general, melons are fruits that do not ripen much after being picked, unlike, say, bananas or pears. Bill St. John, The Denver Post, "Get Cooking: How to select (and utilize) melon," 2 July 2019 Maraschinos were once made from a type of sour cherry called Marascas, but these days are made from any firm, sweet cherry, usually yellow varieties, but also under-ripe varieties that would have ripened to red. Washington Post, "There are many types of sweet or tart cherries you can grow," 2 July 2019 Many plants opened their blooms in March and should be ripening a ready-to-eat pineapple in August. Tom Maccubbin,, "Red blooms turn out to be blood lilies," 22 June 2019 At the height of the season's popularity, many farms will close early to let more berries ripen because the patches have been picked through. 2. Amy Schwabe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Here are 8 Milwaukee-area strawberry farms where you can pick your own," 5 June 2019 And then there is his fluency of color (flesh ripens in a dark rainbow spectrum) and natural affinity for the sensual line. Christopher Alessandrini, The New York Review of Books, "‘Boys Do It Better’: The Paintings of Louis Fratino," 18 May 2019 In Chu’s world, avocados are a fruit that can be peeled with your fingers — provided they are properly ripened. Cindy Dampier,, "Blood on the guacamole: Is avocado hand reaching epidemic proportions?," 15 June 2018 Honeycrisp’ is a late-season apple, ripening in early September, with medium storage life (3 months or more). Sunset, "The Best Apple Trees to Grow in Your Home Garden," 22 Jan. 2018 What's next: Southeastern Michigan's strawberries typically starts to ripen in the south and then heads north. Susan Selasky, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan-grown strawberries are arriving late and here's why," 7 June 2019

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

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Statistics for ripen

Last Updated

13 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for ripen

The first known use of ripen was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for ripen



English Language Learners Definition of ripen

: to become ripe and ready to eat
: to make (something) ripe


rip·​en | \ ˈrī-pən How to pronounce ripen (audio) \
ripened; ripening

Kids Definition of ripen

: to make or become ripe

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More from Merriam-Webster on ripen

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ripen

Spanish Central: Translation of ripen

Nglish: Translation of ripen for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ripen for Arabic Speakers

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