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

Other Words from ripen

ripener \ ˈrī-​pə-​nər How to pronounce ripen (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 Alaskan grizzlies, so fond of salmon runs, now preferring berries that ripen sooner. Christopher Borrelli, Chicago Tribune, 14 May 2022 Your plant appears normal in an email photo with several hands of green fruits that should ripen later in the season. Tom Maccubbin, Orlando Sentinel, 14 May 2022 Made only in years that favor varieties that ripen late in the season, this exquisite Rhône red is mostly Mourvedre, known for its long aging potential, blended with Syrah, Grenache and Counoise. Mike Desimone, Robb Report, 10 Apr. 2022 Every year when the apples ripen, approximately 50 to 75 apples drop on our side of the fence for several weeks. Washington Post, 4 Apr. 2022 How to ripen an avocado in a few hours: Use the oven! Amy Mitchell, Country Living, 20 Apr. 2022 Plants produce an abundance of flowers in spring and ripen their intensely aromatic fruits in the fall. oregonlive, 13 Jan. 2022 In 1986, Howard Mozeico planted a small vineyard behind his Parrett Mountain home to see if grapes would ripen 1,000 feet above sea level. Michael Alberty | For The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, 4 Apr. 2022 Winemakers dream of these kinds of mild, even temperatures, which allow grapes to ripen slowly, taking more time to develop complex flavors. Esther Mobley, San Francisco Chronicle, 6 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of ripen

15th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

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Time Traveler for ripen

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

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Dictionary Entries Near ripen

ripe for abuse


ripe old age

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Last Updated

9 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Ripen.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for ripen


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

Kids Definition of ripen

: to make or become ripe

More from Merriam-Webster on ripen

Nglish: Translation of ripen for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ripen for Arabic Speakers


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