sharpen

verb
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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from sharpen

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for sharpen

Synonyms

Antonyms

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Scientists have a name for it when a person deficient in one of the five senses sees the others sharpen: cross-modal plasticity. Gordon Jones, New York Times, "Tamika Catchings Is Taking Her ‘Superpower’ to the Hall of Fame," 11 May 2021 This can sharpen butter, fruit or meat knives easily. Chris Hachey, BGR, "Best Sharpening Rod for Knives," 22 Apr. 2021 The session is meant to sharpen governments’ focus on how to engage private capital to fund the low-carbon technologies needed to significantly curb emissions, an administration official told reporters this morning. Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner, "Daily on Energy, Sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute: Biden focused on enlisting private capital in climate effort," 21 Apr. 2021 The current crises serve to sharpen focus on these institutions’ weakest spots of economics and equity. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Commentary: After a year without museums, what’s next?," 14 Mar. 2021 Those insights have helped WW sharpen their workshop design focus to support deeper connections and relationship-building. Forbes, "The Pandemic Scrambled Health And Wellness Routines: Here’s How WW Adjusted And Found Success," 4 Mar. 2021 Antitrust scrutiny of the world’s largest online retailer is likely to sharpen in the coming years. al, "Amazon’s new CEO Andy Jassy in ‘hot seat’ as Alabama workers consider union," 7 Feb. 2021 Karl Benson — co-owner of Cooks at Crocus Hill locations in Stillwater, North Loop in Minneapolis and on Grand Avenue in St. Paul — said the pandemic gave him the opportunity to sharpen his focus. John Ewoldt, Star Tribune, "'Buy local or bye local': Shopper support was holiday gift for small Minnesota retailers," 30 Jan. 2021 The experiences of the past year helped sharpen their focus heading into 2021. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "How ex-Michigan State basketball star Ray Weathers, wife Angela, are developing leaders," 5 Jan. 2021

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.

See More

First Known Use of sharpen

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sharpen

Time Traveler for sharpen

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for sharpen

Last Updated

18 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sharpen.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sharpen. Accessed 18 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on sharpen

What made you want to look up sharpen? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Typeshift

Anagram puzzles meet word search.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!