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 The stylish aviators are equipped with Vision Drive Polarized XTR lenses that can help sharpen your depth perception while driving, eliminate glare and minimize color distortion. Demetrius Simms, Robb Report, 1 Apr. 2022 Don’t neglect to clean, sharpen and oil your pruners, Edmunds said. oregonlive, 8 Nov. 2021 Instruct your minions to remove any extraneous branches, and sharpen one end of each stick with a pocketknife. Wes Siler, Outside Online, 1 Oct. 2020 Typically, providers travel the state, visiting children and their families in-home and offering specialized instruction to improve their sight or sharpen their other senses. Holly V. Hays, The Indianapolis Star, 25 Apr. 2022 The shooting will not only ignite fears over rising crime but also sharpen the debate over how to solve the problem. Washington Post, 13 Apr. 2022 That experience continues to build the program and sharpen the culture. Robert Fenbers, cleveland, 6 Apr. 2022 Following the do’s and don’ts below will position you to understand, sharpen, and leverage your BATNA to reach the best outcome in any negotiation. Leigh Thompson, Quartz, 13 Apr. 2022 This is an upscaling technology—similar to what Nvidia and AMD offer with DLSS and FSR (or RSR), respectively—that can sharpen picture quality through AI learning while lessening the impact on performance. Matthew Buzzi, PCMAG, 30 Mar. 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

18 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Sharpen.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 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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