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 Tuesday concluded a week of mandatory individual workouts that the team used as a way to sharpen their players in advance of their return to action. Los Angeles Times, "Lakers say they’re ready for rest of NBA journey this season," 7 July 2020 Sport, Sport+, and Race drive modes further stiffen its suspension, sharpen its throttle response, and increase the full-throttle shift point from 6500 rpm to 7000. Scott Oldham, Car and Driver, "2020 Mercedes-AMG GT R Roadster Still Draws a Crowd," 6 July 2020 There's an ironing man to collect and drop off ironed clothes, and the knife sharpener visits to sharpen knives. Rhea Mogul, CNN, "One of India's richest minority groups enjoys some of Mumbai's best rents. Here's why," 4 July 2020 That explains why both teams plan to use the eight remaining regular-season games to sharpen conditioning and chemistry without causing fatigue or injury. Mark Medina, USA TODAY, "NBA restart: Are the Lakers or Clippers better prepared to resume the season?," 2 July 2020 But recent events around the outbreak only acted to further sharpen his focus on the need for digital currencies, given that millions were hunkered down, unable to use cash and forced to shop online for necessities. Vildana Hajric,, "Singer Akon Is Launching a Cryptocurrency, Building Senegal City," 15 June 2020 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

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

16 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sharpen.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for sharpen


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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More from Merriam-Webster on sharpen

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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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