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

Definition of sharpen

transitive verb

: to make sharp or sharper especially : hone

intransitive verb

: to become sharp or sharper

Other Words from sharpen

sharpener \ ˈshärp-​nər How to pronounce sharpen (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.
Recent Examples on the Web Second, sharpen your lawnmower blade regularly and cut the grass at or near the mower's tallest setting. Jessica Bennett, Better Homes & Gardens, 2 Aug. 2022 These questions can sharpen thinking skills and trigger interesting conversations with others. Gregory Crawford, Forbes, 1 Aug. 2022 De La Hoya said Alvarez should turn to Golovkin next to further sharpen himself and feel more comfortable at 175 pounds before taking the Bivol rematch. Lance Pugmire, USA TODAY, 13 May 2022 Research is essential to our business, and this realignment will serve to sharpen our broader business goals in a meaningful way. Alex Weprin, The Hollywood Reporter, 20 July 2022 Walker is an elite run defender, but will need to sharpen his technique to become a more consistent pass rusher. Eddie Brown, San Diego Union-Tribune, 5 Apr. 2022 The campaign is expected to sharpen a debate about the role of both the Jewish far-right camp in Israel and the country’s Arab minority within governing coalitions. Patrick Kingsley,, 30 June 2022 In a world where women are already held to different standards than men, treading the line between being perceived as submissive and aggressive, this vote of inconfidence from a powerful entity can serve to sharpen that double-edged sword. Rebekah Bastian, Forbes, 26 June 2022 Like the hatchback, the R wagon has a torque-biasing rear differential intended to sharpen cornering response, and European buyers can even pay extra to add a Drift mode—a compellingly ludicrous option that our car didn't have. Mike Duff, Car and Driver, 24 June 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near sharpen



sharpening stone

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Statistics for sharpen

Last Updated

10 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Sharpen.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for sharpen


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

More from Merriam-Webster on sharpen

Nglish: Translation of sharpen for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sharpen for Arabic Speakers


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