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

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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 In June — after the mustard had reseeded, the jay’s eggs hatched, and the tomatoes started to ripen — Sherril retired. Diana Marcum, Los Angeles Times, 7 June 2021 Thirty years ago the vines here struggled to ripen grapes. Jay Mcinerney, Town & Country, 6 June 2021 The new Orlando facility also helps the chain buy more produce locally and gives them the ability to ripen bananas and avocados, which was previously outsourced, according to Hurley. Austin Fuller,, 4 June 2021 Loquats seem to ripen all at once, which sparks a communal race against the clock that sees anyone who has a tree try to get as many as possible before the parrots gorge on them. Los Angeles Times, 4 June 2021 Salmonberries glisten like small bursts of orange and red fish roe, nestled in the greenery beside magenta flowers and the hard, green clusters of berries still to ripen. Carolyn Wells, Longreads, 30 Apr. 2021 These juxtapositions influence the area’s wine — fog caused by the meeting of warm and cool air means grapes ripen slowly, deepening their flavors. Brian Coyne,, 13 Nov. 2018 Small, fruited tomatoes are the first to ripen, and larger varieties require 20 or more days. Tom Maccubbin,, 20 Feb. 2021 Some fruits, like tomatoes, can be picked early and left out in the sun—away from deer—to fully ripen. Angela Watson,, 4 Apr. 2021

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

21 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ripen.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jun. 2021.

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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

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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