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

intransitive verb

: to grow or become ripe

transitive verb

: to make ripe
: to bring to completeness or perfection
: to age or cure (cheese) to develop characteristic flavor, odor, body, texture, and color
: to improve flavor and tenderness of (beef or game) by aging under refrigeration
ˈrī-pə-nər How to pronounce ripen (audio)

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 Warmer temperatures have enabled better ripening of Britain’s grapes and therefore, better qualities of wine. Prarthana Prakash, Fortune Europe, 12 Nov. 2023 As summer winds down in the verdant olive groves across southern Spain’s region of Andalusia, the tree branches typically bend down, heavy with ripening fruits. Alessio Perrone, Scientific American, 31 Aug. 2023 Ethylene is a natural plant hormone that triggers produce to ripen faster. Karla Walsh, Better Homes & Gardens, 3 Nov. 2023 Artists failed spectacularly to sow the seeds of compassion, to nurture fragile blooms of culture and the fruit of ethical awareness never had a chance to ripen. Elsa Keslassy, Variety, 2 Nov. 2023 This cheese will not be hitting supermarket shelves any time soon; much like actual cheese, the science needs some time to ripen. Elizabeth Rayne, Ars Technica, 14 Oct. 2023 With a La Niña year in 2022, there were cooler temperatures and no aggressive heat waves, thus Oliver’s Taranga’s vineyards experienced a long, slow ripening that Wright was excited about. Jeremy Repanich, Robb Report, 11 Oct. 2023 Be aware that bananas can cause nearby fruits to ripen quicker, so organize them accordingly. Kaitlyn Yarborough, Southern Living, 18 Sep. 2023 These lower, older leaves are less photosynthetically active, and their removal will not delay ripening as much. oregonlive, 3 Sep. 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

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

Dictionary Entries Near ripen

Cite this Entry

“Ripen.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


rip·​en ˈrī-pən How to pronounce ripen (audio)
ripened; ripening ˈrīp-(ə-)niŋ How to pronounce ripen (audio)
: to make or become ripe

More from Merriam-Webster on ripen

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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