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

Keep scrolling for more

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 If the grapes that are full sized in the cluster are ripening OK and taste sweet, your clusters had a problem with pollination. oregonlive, "Ask an expert: 'Why am I seeing uneven ripening on grape plants?’," 15 Sep. 2019 At the end of the growing season, reduce watering to help ripen the final tomatoes. Joan Elovitz Kazan, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "We challenged local chefs to create 6-ingredient tomato recipes. Here's what they came up with.," 20 Aug. 2019 Guests sleep in either the manor house dating from 1733 or a new wing completed in 2012, both options set amid the sloping terraces of ripening vines. Anne Farrar, National Geographic, "Here’s why everyone is going to Portugal now," 18 June 2019 Apples also are a source of tomato-ripening ethylene. Jeff Lowenfels, Anchorage Daily News, "Here’s what you should do this weekend to prepare your garden for winter," 12 Sep. 2019 This one, Apple Varieties organizes the apples by ripening date., "Need to know if a fruit is safe to eat? Ask an expert," 23 Aug. 2019 Though native to China, ripening peaches now signal the transition into summer in the South. Callie Blount, al, "How to make homemade peach frozen yogurt," 15 Aug. 2019 That way the sunlight will reach all of the ripening fruit, and it can also be harvested from the ground. Neil Sperry,, "Cotton root rot lurks to attack vulnerable plants," 12 July 2019 Spartan’ ripens midseason, usually in early October, and can be harvested gradually over a few weeks. Sunset, "The Best Apple Trees to Grow in Your Home Garden," 22 Jan. 2018

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

Statistics for ripen

Last Updated

2 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for ripen

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


to spread as a report or rumor

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Confusing Words—A Quiz

  • alice with tweedle dee and tweedle dum
  • I invented a brand new toaster robot and ______ it "Sir Toasts-a-Lot."
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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