sharp

adjective
\ˈshärp \

Definition of sharp 

(Entry 1 of 5)

1 : adapted to cutting or piercing: such as

a : having a thin keen edge or fine point

b : briskly or bitingly cold : nipping a sharp wind

2a : keen in intellect : quick-witted

b : keen in perception : acute sharp sight

c : keen in attention : vigilant keep a sharp lookout

d : keen in attention to one's own interest sometimes to the point of being unethical a sharp trader also : corrupt, unethical sharp business practices

3 : keen in spirit or action: such as

a : full of activity or energy : brisk sharp blows

b : capable of acting or reacting strongly especially : caustic

4 : severe, harsh: such as

a : inclined to or marked by irritability or anger a sharp temper

b : causing intense mental or physical distress a sharp pain

c : cutting in language or import a sharp rebuke

5 : affecting the senses or sense organs intensely: such as

a(1) : having a strong odor or flavor sharp cheese

(2) : acrid

b : having a strong piercing sound

c : having the effect of or involving a sudden brilliant display of light a sharp flash

6a : terminating in a point or edge sharp features

b : involving an abrupt or marked change especially in direction a sharp turn

c : clear in outline or detail : distinct a sharp image

d : set forth with clarity and distinctness sharp contrast

7a of a tone : raised a half step in pitch

b : higher than the proper pitch

c : major, augmented used of an interval in music

sharp

adverb

Definition of sharp (Entry 2 of 5)

1 : in a sharp manner

2 : exactly 1:15 sharp

sharp

noun
plural sharps

Definition of sharp (Entry 3 of 5)

: one that is sharp: such as

a : a sharp edge or point

b(1) : a musical note or tone one half step higher than a note or tone named

(2) : a character ♯ on a line or space of the musical staff indicating a pitch a half step higher than the degree would indicate without it

c : a needle with a small eye for sewing by hand

d : a real or self-proclaimed expert also : sharper

e : a medical instrument (such as a scalpel, lancet, or syringe needle) that is sharp or may produce sharp pieces by shattering usually plural It is no longer legal to dispose of sharps in the regular trash, Health Director Jeanne M. Galloway said in announcing the new collection station.— Angela Carbone

sharp

verb
sharped; sharping; sharps

Definition of sharp (Entry 4 of 5)

transitive verb

: to raise (a musical tone) in pitch especially : to raise in pitch by a half step

intransitive verb

: to sing or play above the proper pitch

Sharp

biographical name
\ˈshärp \

Definition of Sharp (Entry 5 of 5)

Phillip Allen 1944–     American biologist

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Other Words from sharp

Adjective

sharply adverb
sharpness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for sharp

Adjective

sharp, keen, acute mean having or showing alert competence and clear understanding. sharp implies quick perception, clever resourcefulness, or sometimes questionable trickiness. sharp enough to spot a confidence game keen suggests quickness, enthusiasm, and a penetrating mind. a keen observer of the political scene acute implies a power to penetrate and may suggest subtlety and sharpness of discrimination. an acute sense of style

Examples of sharp in a Sentence

Adjective

a sharp drop in temperature He took a sharp left turn. a sharp curve in the road Her cheerful mood stands in sharp contrast to her dreary surroundings.

Adverb

be there at four o'clock sharp

Noun

the computer sharp that the rest of the staff turns to whenever their PCs act up
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

For the event, Macron chose a sharp navy, double-breasted overcoat, which was tailored just right and falls in line with her usual chic wardrobe (navy and red are her most worn colors). Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Brigitte Macron Proves You Can Wear Jeans on the Job," 15 Nov. 2018 The terrible, undulating war whoops of the attackers were soon joined by sharp shrieks of women pierced by arrows and the cries of men being killed with pangas. Nick Turse, Teen Vogue, "The Democratic Republic of Congo Has Humanitarian Crises Leaving Millions of Children In Danger," 14 Nov. 2018 The Draper’s frame slants at a slightly sharper angle, which gives it a striking shape. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Ultra-stylish tiny house comes with fold-down deck," 9 Nov. 2018 The Duchess of Cambridge stepped out for an engagement in Essex today, sporting a chic all-black ensemble—turtleneck, skinny jeans, and ankle boots included—paired with a sharp gray plaid blazer by Smythe. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kate Middleton Had a Princess Diana Moment in Her Gray Blazer," 30 Oct. 2018 This refinement and precision requires a lighter knife with a sharper cutting edge. Francine Maroukian, Popular Mechanics, "How To Buy Kitchen Knives Like a Pro," 24 Oct. 2018 Come for the sharp, often hilarious scenarios Sittenfeld brilliantly lays out in each chapter. Marie Claire, "These Are the Best Books of 2018, According to Our Editors," 15 Oct. 2018 Each size features its very own design from pretty plaids to sharp stripes, and every product comes with a classic gold topper, which resembles a real ornament cap. Jessica Leigh Mattern, Country Living, "These Oversized Christmas Ornaments Are the Merriest Decorations We’ve Ever Seen," 10 Oct. 2018 Those hopes have yet to be borne out in the Trump era, in which the EPA has taken a sharp turn toward deregulation. Eli Rosenberg, chicagotribune.com, "Asbestos sold by Russian company is branded with Trump's face," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

While most of the area’s top athletes run for clubs and compete in regional and national meets during the off-season, Romero was busy staying sharp as a gymnast. Mark Stewart, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Success in golf and gymnastics set the stage for Brookfield Central's Lexi Romero to shine on the track," 17 May 2018 Ross’ stuff has been sharp more often than not since arriving in Arizona. Kevin Acee, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Tyson Ross making healthy run at Padres' rotation spot," 6 Mar. 2018 But he's picked it up real sharp, real quick with that. Nick Baumgardner, Detroit Free Press, "Jim Harbaugh: Michigan football's quarterback battle still wide open," 28 Apr. 2018 The two-time Oscar-winning actress took a 23-year detour into politics, and clearly her blistering broadsides as a member of Parliament against the Conservative opposition have kept her histrionic powers sharp within a certain range. Charles Mcnulty, latimes.com, "Glenda Jackson steals the show in a thrilling, emotionally affecting 'Three Tall Women' on Broadway," 30 Mar. 2018 Kentucky hasn’t looked particularly sharp through the first two weeks of the 2017 season, but the Wildcats have an all-important 2-0 record on their resume. Joe Mussatto, ajc, "2017 SEC Country Power Poll: Where Kentucky is ranked (Week 2)," 10 Sep. 2017 Footage from Japanese broadcaster NHK showed a sharp horizontal cut across the bow area, which looked like a shark's mouth. baltimoresun.com, "Halethorpe man among 7 sailors who died in USS Fitzgerald collision off Japan," 18 June 2017 Footage from Japanese broadcaster NHK showed a sharp horizontal cut across the bow area, which looked like a shark’s mouth. Washington Post, "Mother: Son tried to save Navy shipmates after collision," 18 June 2017 Look sharp: Here are 10 new and classic models worth taking on the water. Troy Patterson, Bloomberg.com, "Ten Sailing Watches That Look Sharp on Either Land or Water," 12 May 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Sometimes that nervousness and those butterflies get you extra-sharp. George Ramsay, CNN, "Mind game: When rugby stars are 'too nervous to take the field'," 1 June 2018 LONDON—European airlines are flying into smoother air with ticket prices, bolstered by improving corporate bookings and steadily growing economies, showing signs of recovery after years of sharp falls. Robert Wall, WSJ, "European Airlines Set for Lift From Rising Ticket Prices," 5 May 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

It was followed the following year by the Harvard business case program, where students sharped business skills. Staff Report, chicagotribune.com, "Giving back: Ridgewood students recognized for their mentoring work," 21 June 2018 But strong pitching was the order of the day Friday, with Tanaka looking sharp himself. Jorge L. Ortiz, USA TODAY, "Dallas Keuchel in command: Astros cruise to Game 1 ALCS win over Yankees," 13 Oct. 2017 North Korea if America or its allies come under attack is, in fact, not all that sharp a break from existing U.S. policy. Ankit Panda, The Atlantic, "A Presidential Misunderstanding of Deterrence," 20 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sharp.' 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 sharp

Adjective

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adverb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Verb

1662, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for sharp

Adjective

Middle English, from Old English scearp; akin to Old High German scarf sharp and perhaps to Old English scrapian to scrape — more at scrape

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Statistics for sharp

Last Updated

21 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sharp

The first known use of sharp was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for sharp

sharp

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of sharp

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: having a thin edge that is able to cut things or a fine point that is able to make a hole in things

: sudden and quick

: involving a sudden change in direction

sharp

adverb

English Language Learners Definition of sharp (Entry 2 of 3)

: above the correct musical pitch

sharp

noun

English Language Learners Definition of sharp (Entry 3 of 3)

: a musical note that is one semitone higher than a specified note; also : a written symbol ♯ that is placed before a note to show that it should be played a semitone higher

sharp

adjective
\ˈshärp \
sharper; sharpest

Kids Definition of sharp

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : having a thin edge or fine point (as for cutting or piercing) a sharp knife

2 : brisk and cold a sharp wind

3 : very smart a sharp student

4 : attentive sense 1 He kept a sharp watch.

5 : having very good ability to see or hear You have sharp eyes.

6 : energetic, brisk We kept up a sharp pace.

7 : showing anger or disapproval a sharp reply

8 : causing distress : severe a sharp pain sharp criticism

9 : strongly affecting the senses The workshop … had the sharp, warm scent of wood shavings and sawdust.— Lloyd Alexander, Time Cat

10 : ending in a point or edge a sharp mountain peak

11 : involving a sudden and quick change a sharp drop in the temperature a sharp turn

12 : clear in outline or detail : distinct a sharp image

13 : raised in pitch by a half step F sharp

14 : higher than true pitch Her singing was slightly sharp.

15 : stylish a sharp outfit

Other Words from sharp

sharply adverb
sharpness noun

sharp

adverb

Kids Definition of sharp (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : at an exact time four o'clock sharp

2 : at a higher than true pitch He sang sharp.

sharp

noun

Kids Definition of sharp (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : a musical note or tone that is a half step higher than the note named

2 : a sign ♯ that tells that a note is to be made higher by a half step

sharp

noun
\ˈshärp \

Medical Definition of sharp 

: a medical instrument (as a scalpel, lancet, or syringe needle) that is sharp or may produce sharp pieces by shattering As I passed the hemostat, the needle clipped my glove and my skin … I then disposed of the sharp and tried to force bleeding.The Journal of the American Medical Association, 4 Jan. 2012 usually used in plural It is no longer legal to dispose of sharps in the regular trash, Health Director Jeanne M. Galloway said in announcing the new collection station.— Angela Carbone, The Springfield (Massachusetts) Republican, 18 Oct. 2008

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Comments on sharp

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