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

Keep scrolling for more

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 The result is grapes that ripen later in the season, which California vintners tend to consider a good thing — a slower ripening, the logic goes, allows grapes to develop deeper flavors. Esther Mobley, San Francisco Chronicle, "This bacon-laced, umami-rich Syrah is why I love wine from high-altitude California vineyards," 3 Feb. 2021 As pears ripen, their flesh gets sweeter, juicer and softer. Darlene Zimmerman, Detroit Free Press, "Versatile onion and pear spread is a easy and pleasing appetizer," 24 Dec. 2020 Madrone berries ripen in autumn and last until December. oregonlive, "Ask an expert: While it’s too late to fertilize, be ready for spring lawn care with these suggestions," 20 Dec. 2020 Green beans ripen into kidney beans in the fall, which Wall says were likely stewed at the first Thanksgiving. Jamie Kiffel-alcheh, National Geographic, "Science experiments that will feed your kids’ brains," 23 Nov. 2020 Any green tomatoes left on the vines will not ripen now, so try a recipe that calls for green tomatoes. Tim Johnson,, "How to winterize your vegetable garden for a thriving crop next year," 15 Nov. 2020 And then many that did set and start to ripen cracked due to the extra moisture. Tom Maccubbin,, "Snail and slug populations surge amid wet, warm weather," 12 Dec. 2020 The best way to ripen pears is to set them in a paper bag with a banana. Beth Dooley Special To The Star Tribune, Star Tribune, "Perfectly poached pears have plenty of uses," 4 Nov. 2020 The 2017 growing season was exceptional, being a warm year with a good amount of rainfall to fully ripen the fruit and maintain a nice acidity. Rachel King, Fortune, "The best wines for Thanksgiving," 21 Nov. 2020

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.

See More

First Known Use of ripen

15th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ripen

Time Traveler for ripen

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for ripen

Last Updated

21 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ripen.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on ripen

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ripen

Nglish: Translation of ripen for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ripen for Arabic Speakers

Comments on ripen

What made you want to look up ripen? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Who Knew?

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!