Meaning of sharpen in English:


Pronunciation /ˈʃɑːp(ə)n/

See synonyms for sharpen

Translate sharpen into Spanish


  • 1Make or become sharp or sharper.

    with object ‘she sharpened her pencil’
    • ‘her tone sharpened’
    • ‘I have a feeling he's sharpening his pencil and pulling out the classified ads right about now.’
    • ‘It's never too early to start sharpening the insults and perfecting the ad hominem attacks.’
    • ‘At this very moment, exam markers are sharpening their red pencils to ring such sloppiness.’
    • ‘Have they been sharpening their pencils and drawing rectangles to take the average size car?’
    • ‘Does he pay attention or is he the one always out at the front of the class sharpening his pencil?’
    • ‘So each one of these abilities is learned over the course of life and articulated, refined and sharpened as you go up the ladder.’
    • ‘This is where the bile and the agony and the rage of rock and roll was sharpened and honed.’
    • ‘If all the procrastinator had left to do was to sharpen some pencils, no force on earth could get him do it.’
    • ‘She notes his hypocrisy, and he sharpens his tone.’
    • ‘It sharpens your thinking and improves your development.’
    • ‘Evolution sharpens and refines their ability to lie about themselves.’
    • ‘If you're still with me, be prepared to sharpen both your pencils and your little gray cells.’
    • ‘So sharpen your proverbial pencils and get scribbling, because it's your reviews that keep me writing.’
    • ‘What he did do was provide Hatton with a granite block on which to sharpen his skills and hone his experience.’
    • ‘This broad and undulating ridge gradually narrows and eventually sharpens to a knife edge just below the rocky summit slopes.’
    • ‘And I think when the economic message sharpens on health care, the economy, job creation, you'll see the race tighten.’
    • ‘There's something about this time of year that somehow sharpens the sense of sadness that seems part and parcel of the bitter-sweet experience of Christmas time.’
    • ‘He sharpens them and uses them as deadly weapons.’
    • ‘Hopefully it will have given them a taste for the game - it's great because it's the sort of game you can play until you're 100, and it sharpens your wits.’
    • ‘From the moment their grans pop the first illicit chocolate button in their drooling mouths, children are hooked, and parental censure only sharpens their appetite.’
    make sharp, make sharper, hone, whet, strop, grind, file
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  • 2sharpen up or sharpen something upImprove or cause to improve.

    ‘they've got to sharpen up in front of the goal’
    • ‘students will sharpen up their reading skills’
    • ‘The game isn't due out until the first quarter of 2006 so we'll see if things have been sharpened up by then.’
    • ‘If you think that the exterior lines have been sharpened up, just wait until you drop into the cabin.’
    • ‘His adaptation retains the honesty and lyricism of the book but sharpens it up into a riveting confessional stream of crackling, dinner conversation-sharp dialogue.’
    • ‘He ruffled some feathers by suggesting ‘if blogging is to go mainstream, bloggers will have to sharpen their act up considerably’.’
    • ‘The company claims the handling has been sharpened up considerably.’
    • ‘We know our areas of weakness and we will have to sharpen them up,’ he added.’
    • ‘Baxter admitted he was not pleased with the previous day's training, where too many players showed their poor finishing during a lengthy session devoted to shooting practice, in which he tried to sharpen matters up in front of goal.’
    • ‘The exchange of dark-squared Bishops would have left Black with a very passive position, so he decides to sharpen things up a bit.’
    • ‘Yes, my neurological examination technique had lacked precision, and I made a note to sharpen it up.’
    • ‘The acting was all of the highest standard, the script was well written and, while the removal of twenty minutes might have sharpened it up a bit, basically it was certainly professional and original stuff.’
    • ‘And I must edit some old writings and sharpen them up a bit and work on some new writings.’
    • ‘I've also honed my design skills, and maybe even sharpened up my writing skills.’
    • ‘This is really a way of sharpening up the act a bit.’
    • ‘Whether you're in high school now or you've been out for years, this site will have you sharpening up your revenge skills.’
    • ‘Tell him that you are sharpening up your act by keeping your shops and guest houses clean and opening the cafe even when a coach party arrives 10 minutes after closing time.’
    • ‘They're both fine talented footballers and while their match fitness might need a bit of sharpening up, it's great to have them back on the panel.’
    • ‘A few of the banks are sharpening up their acts too.’
    • ‘The job may involve a lot of travelling, and the sharpening up of skills that have become dull in the 6 years I've spent here.’
    • ‘On this day he was shaking of the winter blues and sharpening up his skills as the swing as the new season approaches.’
    • ‘We work well together and the partnership is sharpening up all the time.’
    improve, brush up, polish up, better, enhance
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  • 3British Music
    with object Raise the pitch of (a note) by a semitone.