Thesaurus

Synonyms & Antonyms of keen

(Entry 1 of 3)

1 able to sense slight impressions or differences
  • pilots with especially keen eyesight

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2 causing intense discomfort to one's skin
  • the keen wind gave me chapped lips

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3 having an edge thin enough to cut or pierce something
  • lanced the boil with a keen scalpel

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4 having or showing quickness of mind
  • readers who were keen enough to realize that the writer was being satirical

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5 of the very best kind
  • that new digital camera sure is keen

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keen

noun

Synonyms & Antonyms of keen (Entry 2 of 3)

a crying out in grief
  • the loud keens of the widows were heard throughout the war-ravaged city

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keen

verb

Synonyms & Antonyms of keen (Entry 3 of 3)

1 to express dissatisfaction, pain, or resentment usually tiresomely
  • victims of the disaster have been keening for weeks about the slowness of governmental aid

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2 to make a long loud mournful sound
  • mourners keening for the victims of the bombing

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See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About keen

How does the adjective keen contrast with its synonyms?

The words acute and sharp are common synonyms of keen. While all three words mean "having or showing alert competence and clear understanding," keen suggests quickness, enthusiasm, and a penetrating mind.

a keen observer of the political scene

In what contexts can acute take the place of keen?

The meanings of acute and keen largely overlap; however, acute implies a power to penetrate and may suggest subtlety and sharpness of discrimination.

an acute sense of style

When would sharp be a good substitute for keen?

While the synonyms sharp and keen are close in meaning, sharp implies quick perception, clever resourcefulness, or sometimes questionable trickiness.

sharp enough to spot a confidence game

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Time Traveler for keen

Time Traveler

The first known use of keen was in the 13th century

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Cite this Entry

“Keen.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/keen. Accessed 24 Sep. 2020.

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More from Merriam-Webster on keen

Dictionary: Definition of keen

Nglish: Translation of keen for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of keen for Arabic Speakers

Comments on keen

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