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 Dairy cows graze on wild grasses and flowers during spring and summer, and wheels of Saint-Nectaire cheese ripen year-round in underground caves dug into the volcanic hillsides. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian, "This Cheese’s Secret Ingredient Comes From Caves on Volcanic Hillsides," 22 Nov. 2019 The pathogen often prevents raw green fruit from ripening, a symptom called citrus greening. Darryl Fears,, "The end of Florida orange juice? A lethal disease is devastating the state’s citrus industry," 11 Nov. 2019 The pathogen often prevents raw green fruit from ripening, a symptom called citrus greening., "Citrus growers ‘‘are resilient and optimistic about the future,’’ Shelley Rossetter, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Citrus, said in July. ‘‘Florida will continue to be a major producer of citrus for years to come.’’," 10 Nov. 2019 Generally, the grapes used to make white wine ripen earlier than the red wine ones, which require more time and longer warm seasons. Lina Zeldovich, Quartz, "Does climate change mean the end of wine?," 9 Nov. 2019 Bees and butterflies bounce and float from goldenrod to clover on the edge of a farm field. Pumpkins in various shades of orange ripen in a dusty field on top of a hill. Peter Marteka,, "A swath of Bethlehem farmland to explore," 20 Sep. 2019 The problem is some of the berries ripen on the top half of the berry, but the bottom half remains red and hard., "Ask An Expert: Difficult weather conditions can make berries ripen unevenly," 9 Aug. 2019 However, apples are hardwired to begin ripening if they are damaged. Chase Purdy, Quartz, "Apples talk to each other. Eavesdropping can save millions from the trash bin," 10 Dec. 2019 When the plants start to die off either pull the entire plant and hang it in a dry place, or remove the green tomatoes to a warm, dry area to let as many ripen as possible. oregonlive, "Why are these Japanese maples dying? Ask an expert," 4 Oct. 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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Time Traveler for ripen

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for ripen

Last Updated

12 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ripen.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 23 January 2020.

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More Definitions for ripen


How to pronounce ripen (audio)

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

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).


out of the ordinary or unreasonable

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