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 One of the most enjoyable garden crops is popcorn, which will probably ripen in any garden that can produce sweet corn. Pam Peirce,, "Bay Area gardeners can look ahead to corn, squash and beans," 23 May 2020 Grenache and Monastrell, which are later-ripening varieties, will become critical to maintaining current growing areas. Eric Roston,, "Stock-Picking Wisdom Could Save a Quarter of the World’s Vineyards," 10 May 2020 Some of the early peaches such as Florida King are ripening now. Calvin Finch,, "Calvin Finch: Deer-proof plant suggestions for your San Antonio garden," 7 May 2020 At a stall brimming with fresh asparagus, farmer Kurt Tonnemaker says the market opening is a good first step, but more space will be essential once cherries, peaches, and nectarines start ripening at his family’s orchards. Ann Scott Tyson, The Christian Science Monitor, "At Seattle farmers market, a taste of new normal – and fresh asparagus," 21 Apr. 2020 In California, citrus fruit is still being plucked off the trees, strawberries are getting underway, and many other crops will ripen in the summer. Miriam Jordan, New York Times, "Farmworkers, Mostly Undocumented, Become ‘Essential’ During Pandemic," 2 Apr. 2020 When left to ripen, the seeds form beans that can be stored and used for soups and casseroles. Author: Adrian Higgins, Anchorage Daily News, "An onslaught of orders engulfs seed companies amid coronavirus fears," 30 Mar. 2020 As for the fruit that is refusing to ripen, just wait. Neil Sperry,, "If you want more figs, don’t prune your trees," 2 Aug. 2019 Which seems better poised to withstand climate change: a grape variety that falls apart when pushed to excessive sugar levels, or a grape that hangs through all of autumn’s heat and refuses to ripen past a very restrained threshold? Esther Mobley,, "The fight to keep alive Charbono, Napa’s nearly extinct heritage grape," 26 June 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

31 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ripen.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Jun. 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

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