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, which until now had kept largely silent on the issue, sharpened its rhetoric significantly. David Lawder, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump orders tariffs on steel and aluminum that initially exempt Canada and Mexico," 8 Mar. 2018 Bruce Bruce sharpened his comedy skills while working as a chef after graduating from high school and continued to make people laugh while stocking shelves for Frito-Lay. Michael K. Mcintyre, cleveland.com, "George Wallace, 'Festival of Laughs' at Playhouse Square Sunday, Ryan Hamilton at Hilarities this week," 14 Feb. 2018 This more or less involves tracing directly under your brow with the definer shade to sharpen the line. Lindsay Schallon, Glamour, "Benefit's New Clicky Pen Is the Secret to Easy Instagram Brows," 7 Aug. 2018 This tool was used to sharpen the stone tools by flaking off new sharp edges. Nicholas St. Fleur, New York Times, "The Final Hours of the Iceman’s Tools," 21 June 2018 To sharpen it, Ötzi would have had to apply pressure and flake off its edges, rather than scrape it against another rock. Nicholas St. Fleur, New York Times, "The Final Hours of the Iceman’s Tools," 21 June 2018 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

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

30 Apr 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

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