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 Another European name is the fruit moon, as a number of fruits ripen at the end of the summer. Julia Musto, Fox News, 9 Sep. 2022 This gas can be harnessed to ripen mature green tomatoes at the end of the growing season by putting the tomatoes in a brown paper bag with a ripe apple or banana as a source of ethylene. Miri Talabac, Baltimore Sun, 28 July 2022 Firm avocados should be left at room temperature to continue to ripen. Aaron Hutcherson, Washington Post, 22 July 2022 One tip to help avocados ripen is to remove the stem and place them in a bag in a warm spot. Tribune News Service, cleveland, 1 June 2022 To help bananas ripen faster, place them in a paper bag where the ethylene gas can accumulate. Beth Branch, Country Living, 26 May 2022 When Pumpkins Are Ready to Harvest Pumpkins, like watermelon, strawberries, and grapes, ripen best attached to the vine. Megan Hughes, Better Homes & Gardens, 31 Aug. 2022 Unlike grapes in traditional winegrowing areas, Thailand’s grapes ripen in winter, in preparation for the harvest that runs from February to March each year. Livia Hengel, Forbes, 25 July 2022 The grain was just beginning to ripen and the fields were full of poppies. Adrienne Lafrance, The Atlantic, 29 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

25 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Ripen.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Oct. 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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