sharpen

verb
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

Synonyms

edge, grind, hone, stone, strop, whet

Antonyms

blunt, dull

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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

BEIJING--China’s financial regulator pledged to continue debt-reduction efforts as Beijing sharpened its rhetoric against rising economic risks during a domestic slowdown. WSJ, "China Intends to Continue Debt-Reduction Efforts," 25 Feb. 2019 This tool does an excellent job of sharpening virtually any kitchen knife. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "The Best Knife Sharpener," 23 Feb. 2019 My father had visited and given us some tips on how to dampen the whetstones and sharpen the blade. Washington Post, "Scything Zen: Ancient way to cut grass also a state of mind," 19 June 2018 The durable blade sharpens easily and the rough edge is ideal for grating Parmesan or garlic. Ashley Mason, Bon Appetit, "9 Mother's Day Gifts for Every Kind of Foodie Mom," 19 Apr. 2018 The traditional method calls for laying the knife's long axis at 90 degrees to the long axis of the sharpening stone and then moving down the stone's length with a gently curving arc. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "15 Things to Do Around the House Before the Holidays," 16 Nov. 2018 Buy Photo Delaware County’s fiscal watchdog has sharpened its teeth with a new fraud-detection tool, one that puts the county on par with its peers in the region. Vinny Vella, Philly.com, "Delaware County never had a fraud hotline. Its new controller changed that," 7 June 2018 For 2018, Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control software further sharpens the CX-9’s initial bite in corners. Car and Driver, "2018 10Best Trucks and SUVs: The Best Models in Every Segment," 30 Jan. 2018 Save the chore of blade filing or sharpening for a rainy afternoon or an evening. Roy Berendson, Popular Mechanics, "Do I Need To Change My Lawnmower Blades?," 22 Jan. 2019

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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Statistics for sharpen

Last Updated

19 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sharpen

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

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More Definitions for sharpen

sharpen

verb

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

sharpen

verb
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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sharpen

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sharpen

Spanish Central: Translation of sharpen

Nglish: Translation of sharpen for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sharpen for Arabic Speakers

Comments on sharpen

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