sharp

adjective
\ ˈshärp How to pronounce sharp (audio) \

Definition of sharp

 (Entry 1 of 5)

1 : adapted to cutting or piercing: such as
a : having a thin keen edge or fine point
b : briskly or bitingly cold : nipping a sharp wind
2a : keen in intellect : quick-witted
b : keen in perception : acute sharp sight
c : keen in attention : vigilant keep a sharp lookout
d : keen in attention to one's own interest sometimes to the point of being unethical a sharp trader also : corrupt, unethical sharp business practices
3 : keen in spirit or action: such as
a : full of activity or energy : brisk sharp blows
b : capable of acting or reacting strongly especially : caustic
4 : severe, harsh: such as
a : inclined to or marked by irritability or anger a sharp temper
b : causing intense mental or physical distress a sharp pain
c : cutting in language or import a sharp rebuke
5 : affecting the senses or sense organs intensely: such as
a(1) : having a strong odor or flavor sharp cheese
(2) : acrid
b : having a strong piercing sound
c : having the effect of or involving a sudden brilliant display of light a sharp flash
6a : terminating in a point or edge sharp features
b : involving an abrupt or marked change especially in direction a sharp turn
c : clear in outline or detail : distinct a sharp image
d : set forth with clarity and distinctness sharp contrast
7a of a tone : raised a half step in pitch
b : higher than the proper pitch
c : major, augmented used of an interval in music

sharp

adverb

Definition of sharp (Entry 2 of 5)

1 : in a sharp manner
2 : exactly 1:15 sharp

sharp

noun
plural sharps

Definition of sharp (Entry 3 of 5)

: one that is sharp: such as
a : a sharp edge or point
b(1) : a musical note or tone one half step higher than a note or tone named
(2) : a character ♯ on a line or space of the musical staff indicating a pitch a half step higher than the degree would indicate without it
c : a needle with a small eye for sewing by hand
d : a real or self-proclaimed expert also : sharper
e : a medical instrument (such as a scalpel, lancet, or syringe needle) that is sharp or may produce sharp pieces by shattering usually plural It is no longer legal to dispose of sharps in the regular trash, Health Director Jeanne M. Galloway said in announcing the new collection station.— Angela Carbone

sharp

verb
sharped; sharping; sharps

Definition of sharp (Entry 4 of 5)

transitive verb

: to raise (a musical tone) in pitch especially : to raise in pitch by a half step

intransitive verb

: to sing or play above the proper pitch

Sharp

biographical name
\ ˈshärp How to pronounce Sharp (audio) \

Definition of Sharp (Entry 5 of 5)

Phillip Allen 1944–     American biologist

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from sharp

Adjective

sharply adverb
sharpness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for sharp

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Adverb

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for sharp

Adjective

sharp, keen, acute mean having or showing alert competence and clear understanding. sharp implies quick perception, clever resourcefulness, or sometimes questionable trickiness. sharp enough to spot a confidence game keen suggests quickness, enthusiasm, and a penetrating mind. a keen observer of the political scene acute implies a power to penetrate and may suggest subtlety and sharpness of discrimination. an acute sense of style

Examples of sharp in a Sentence

Adjective a sharp drop in temperature He took a sharp left turn. a sharp curve in the road Her cheerful mood stands in sharp contrast to her dreary surroundings. Adverb be there at four o'clock sharp Noun the computer sharp that the rest of the staff turns to whenever their PCs act up
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Spagnoli said being sharp mentally and playing hard has powered the defense and put Lake Forest in the driver’s seat for a conference title. Nick Frazier, chicagotribune.com, "Football notes: Sophomore quarterback Ashton Gondeck looks like veteran in first games for Carmel," 5 Apr. 2021 Duncomb comes from Ohio, so his knowledge of Indiana’s history — particularly during Woodson’s playing days — isn’t as sharp. Stefan Krajisnik, The Indianapolis Star, "Logan Duncomb remains committed to Indiana, new coach Mike Woodson," 2 Apr. 2021 The digital instrument cluster display is sharp, as is the touch screen mounted in the middle of the dashboard. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, "2021 Mercedes A35 justifies higher price for luxury brand," 1 Apr. 2021 But the Empire aren’t sharp right now, especially in search and destroy. Sean Collins, Dallas News, "The Dallas Empire aren’t far off from their 2020 pace, but much has to improve for a repeat title run," 29 Mar. 2021 In his final tune-up of the spring, right-hander Corbin Burnes was sharp Sunday in a five-inning outing against Cincinnati. Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Reliever Justin Topa headed for Brewers' injured list after suffering setback with elbow in camp," 28 Mar. 2021 At the same time, the mind needs to be sharp and focused on the trail underfoot, always watching for hazards like loose rocks or dangerous cliff edges. oregonlive, "The quiet bliss of hiking alone: How to prepare for a solo trip into nature," 27 Mar. 2021 The Twins' bullpen wasn't quite as sharp, with both Hansel Robles and Taylor Rogers allowing home runs, the former a solo shot by Jonathan Araúz, and the latter a two-run blast by César Puello. Phil Miller, Star Tribune, "Josh Donaldson displays power, carries Twins over Red Sox 7-4," 25 Mar. 2021 But the Wildcats have been sharp in their first two games and can give Baylor a real test. Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY, "NCAA Tournament upsets still in store? Here's five bold predictions for the Sweet 16 of March Madness," 24 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Hollywood Westerns long ago popularized the image of the sharp-shooting, fearless, white cowboys of American lore. Paulina Cachero, Time, "The True Story of the Black Cowboys of Philadelphia Depicted in Concrete Cowboy," 2 Apr. 2021 Most recently, since 2009, Walter provided the voice for sharp-tongued matriarch Malory Archer on FX and FXX's Archer. Jodi Guglielmi, PEOPLE.com, "Jessica Walter, Arrested Development and Archer Star, Dead at 80," 25 Mar. 2021 Then coaching Providence College, with a sharp-shooting guard named Billy Donovan, Pitino's sixth-seeded Friars upset the Crimson Tide in the Southeast Regional final to reach their first Final Four. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "Alabama holds off Iona as speculation about Rick Pitino's future heats up," 20 Mar. 2021 The sharp-shooting Aztecs shot several wide-open 3’s and missed them all. Michael Mccleary, The Indianapolis Star, "San Diego State ice cold from beyond the arc, falls to Syracuse in NCAA Tournament," 20 Mar. 2021 This time, Barcelona was sharp assured and purposeful while PSG sat on an insurmountable lead but played some alarming soccer, once again seemingly shaken by demons from the past. Samindra Kunti, Forbes, "Lackluster Paris Saint-Germain Survives To Eliminate FC Barcelona From The Champions League," 10 Mar. 2021 Aided by her sharp-tongued maid and a weaselly courtier, Catherine plots a coup. The Economist, "Ahistorical screen dramas In a new breed of stories, the past is a playground, not a corset," 6 Mar. 2021 Tenure and tradition traditionally shield sharp-tongued academics from censure. New York Times, "Obscure Musicology Journal Sparks Battles Over Race and Free Speech," 14 Feb. 2021 When Steve Kerr was in high school, he was honored at a Southern California basketball banquet, a rare occasion for the sharp-shooting but largely forgettable prep player. Ann Killion, San Francisco Chronicle, "Warriors' Steve Kerr recalls meeting with Lute Olson that changed his life," 13 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun At 9:00 sharp on a recent June morning, Peter Campbell stood at the entrance to Naples’ famed National Archaeology Museum. National Geographic, "Museums' treasures endure, but how we see them may change," 24 June 2020 Medical sharps are instruments used to administer medications to individuals or pets. Madeline Mitchell, Cincinnati.com, "Stopping the spread of COVID-19: Rumpke employees need your help," 17 Mar. 2020 Will additional big bets from sharps push the odds before Sunday? Ryan R. Bonini, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "2020 Super Bowl odds and betting trends," 30 Jan. 2020 The sharps realize Navy’s defense has gone from allowing 34 points per game in 2018 to just 18 points per game this season. Joseph Goodman, al, "Ailing Alabama being doubted; Auburn needs some magic," 14 Nov. 2019 But getting dressed casket sharp and howling the night away is only part of the fun. Danielle Pointdujour, Essence, "5 BOO-zy Halloween Cocktails That Are Ghoulishly Delicious," 31 Oct. 2019 Inspired by the '90s, hair legend Adir Abergel gave The Good Place star a razor-sharp blunt cut that falls just underneath her chin. Kaleigh Fasanella, Allure, "Kristen Bell Just Debuted a Super-Blunt, ‘90s-Inspired Bob," 22 Oct. 2019 In the brief, demonic finale, a test of any violinist's abilities, Lee was confident and fiery throughout, and Fisch kept the orchestra razor-sharp through Barber's tricky rhythmic twists. cleveland.com, "Familiar works enjoy new life on revelatory night with Cleveland Orchestra," 12 Aug. 2019 Sometimes that nervousness and those butterflies get you extra-sharp. George Ramsay, CNN, "Mind game: When rugby stars are 'too nervous to take the field'," 1 June 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In the new crisis, the FT argues, dividends are sharping up to be the target that bankers’ bonus pay was the last time around. Alan Murray, Fortune, "Big pharma’s big chance," 3 Apr. 2020 Leaders agreed to sharp austerity measures in return for bailouts from the Union and the International Monetary Fund. NBC News, "From bankruptcies to stock market highs, this was a decade of turnarounds," 27 Dec. 2019 May’s sharp rebuke of the president has put pressure on other lawmakers, especially Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, who is also vying for her job, to condemn the tweets. Jennifer Hassan, Washington Post, "‘1950s racism straight from the White House’: Trump’s tweets revolt politicians around the world," 15 July 2019 May’s sharp rebuke of the president has put pressure on other lawmakers, especially Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, who is also vying for her job, to condemn the tweets. Jennifer Hassan, BostonGlobe.com, "‘1950s racism straight from the White House’: Trump’s tweets revolt politicians around the world," 15 July 2019 It was followed the following year by the Harvard business case program, where students sharped business skills. Staff Report, chicagotribune.com, "Giving back: Ridgewood students recognized for their mentoring work," 21 June 2018 But strong pitching was the order of the day Friday, with Tanaka looking sharp himself. Jorge L. Ortiz, USA TODAY, "Dallas Keuchel in command: Astros cruise to Game 1 ALCS win over Yankees," 13 Oct. 2017 North Korea if America or its allies come under attack is, in fact, not all that sharp a break from existing U.S. policy. Ankit Panda, The Atlantic, "A Presidential Misunderstanding of Deterrence," 20 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sharp.' 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 sharp

Adjective

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adverb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Verb

1662, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for sharp

Adjective

Middle English, from Old English scearp; akin to Old High German scarf sharp and perhaps to Old English scrapian to scrape — more at scrape

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sharp

Time Traveler for sharp

Time Traveler

The first known use of sharp was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for sharp

Last Updated

7 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sharp.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sharp. Accessed 15 Apr. 2021.

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

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for sharp

sharp

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of sharp

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: having a thin edge that is able to cut things or a fine point that is able to make a hole in things
: sudden and quick
: involving a sudden change in direction

sharp

adverb

English Language Learners Definition of sharp (Entry 2 of 3)

: above the correct musical pitch

sharp

noun

English Language Learners Definition of sharp (Entry 3 of 3)

: a musical note that is one semitone higher than a specified note also : a written symbol ♯ that is placed before a note to show that it should be played a semitone higher

sharp

adjective
\ ˈshärp How to pronounce sharp (audio) \
sharper; sharpest

Kids Definition of sharp

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : having a thin edge or fine point (as for cutting or piercing) a sharp knife
2 : brisk and cold a sharp wind
3 : very smart a sharp student
4 : attentive sense 1 He kept a sharp watch.
5 : having very good ability to see or hear You have sharp eyes.
6 : energetic, brisk We kept up a sharp pace.
7 : showing anger or disapproval a sharp reply
8 : causing distress : severe a sharp pain sharp criticism
9 : strongly affecting the senses The workshop … had the sharp, warm scent of wood shavings and sawdust.— Lloyd Alexander, Time Cat
10 : ending in a point or edge a sharp mountain peak
11 : involving a sudden and quick change a sharp drop in the temperature a sharp turn
12 : clear in outline or detail : distinct a sharp image
13 : raised in pitch by a half step F sharp
14 : higher than true pitch Her singing was slightly sharp.
15 : stylish a sharp outfit

Other Words from sharp

sharply adverb
sharpness noun

sharp

adverb

Kids Definition of sharp (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : at an exact time four o'clock sharp
2 : at a higher than true pitch He sang sharp.

sharp

noun

Kids Definition of sharp (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : a musical note or tone that is a half step higher than the note named
2 : a sign ♯ that tells that a note is to be made higher by a half step

sharp

noun
\ ˈshärp How to pronounce sharp (audio) \

Medical Definition of sharp

: a medical instrument (as a scalpel, lancet, or syringe needle) that is sharp or may produce sharp pieces by shattering As I passed the hemostat, the needle clipped my glove and my skin … I then disposed of the sharp and tried to force bleeding.The Journal of the American Medical Association, 4 Jan. 2012 usually used in plural It is no longer legal to dispose of sharps in the regular trash, Health Director Jeanne M. Galloway said in announcing the new collection station.— Angela Carbone, The Springfield (Massachusetts) Republican, 18 Oct. 2008

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on sharp

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

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!