sharp·​en | \ ˈshär-pən How to pronounce sharpen (audio) \
sharpened; sharpening\ ˈshärp-​niŋ How to pronounce sharpening (audio) , ˈshär-​pə-​ \

Definition of sharpen

transitive verb

: to make sharp or sharper especially : hone

intransitive verb

: to become sharp or sharper

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Other Words from sharpen

sharpener \ ˈshärp-​nər How to pronounce sharpener (audio) , ˈshär-​pə-​ \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for sharpen



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Examples of sharpen in a Sentence

Can you sharpen the image? The lecture sharpened my understanding of the topic. The outlines of the mountains sharpened as we got closer.
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Recent Examples on the Web The Business Plan Award provides entrepreneurs with free tuition to attend MORTAR classes at Bounce Innovation Hub to sharpen business skills and develop business plans. Robin Goist, cleveland, "Akron’s ‘Rubber City Match’ program to support 17 small businesses," 23 June 2020 Even as publications sharpen their diversity policies and unions work to support underrepresented media workers, meaningful change has been slow to come if at all. Char Adams, The New Republic, "Where Do Black Journalists Go From Here?," 19 June 2020 If that exercise doesn’t yield much, think about how your skills might help companies sharpen their online business. Arianne Cohen,, "Six Tips for Landing a Job in the Lockdown," 7 June 2020 The New York State and City governments are helping sharpen the sharpest-of-all contractions by imposing the toughest, tightest, longest-standing shutdown in America. Shawn Tully, Fortune, "New York City’s lockdown is costing $173 million per day. Is it still worth it?," 6 June 2020 This will sharpen your skills and give you the chance to meet other shooters. The Editors, Outdoor Life, "How to Hunt: A Step-by-Step Guide for New Adult Hunters," 3 June 2020 That interest has been sharpened in teacher DJ Holloway’s video production classes. oregonlive, "Students at Ridgeview High School in Redmond bring their teachers to tears with heartfelt video," 21 Apr. 2020 The urgency of creating more accommodation for the city’s homeless was sharpened last week when 70 people tested positive for the virus at San Francisco’s largest shelter, MSC South. Trisha Thadani,, "S.F. must lease 8,250 hotel rooms for homeless, frontline workers under emergency ordinance," 14 Apr. 2020 The heads can be sharpened and no special angle is needed to do so. Tony Hansen, Outdoor Life, "7 New Broadheads for 2020," 13 Jan. 2020

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

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Time Traveler for sharpen

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for sharpen

Last Updated

4 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sharpen.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Jul. 2020.

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How to pronounce sharpen (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sharpen

: to make (something) sharp or sharper
: to make (something) clearer or more distinct
: to become clearer or more distinct


sharp·​en | \ ˈshär-pən How to pronounce sharpen (audio) \
sharpened; sharpening

Kids Definition of sharpen

: to make or become sharp or sharper I sharpened the pencil's point.

Other Words from sharpen

sharpener noun

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sharpen

Spanish Central: Translation of sharpen

Nglish: Translation of sharpen for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sharpen for Arabic Speakers

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