Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “sharpen”

See all translations

sharpen

verb [T] uk   /ˈʃɑː.pən/ us    /ˈʃɑːr-/

sharpen verb [T] (ABLE TO CUT)

C2 to make something sharp or sharper: My pencil is blunt - I'll have to sharpen it. figurative The company is cutting production costs in an attempt to sharpen its competitive edge (= in order to improve how competitive it is).
More examples

sharpen verb [T] (MAKE STRONG)

to make something stronger: Recent changes have sharpened competition between the airlines. The prison riots have sharpened the debate about how prisons should be run. to improve: I hope this course will help me sharpen my computer skills. I went to university to sharpen my mind. We'll need to sharpen our wits if we're going to defeat Jack's team.

sharpen verb [T] (CLEAR)

to make something clearer: How do you sharpen the focus on this camera?

sharpen verb [T] (MUSIC)

to make something play a higher musical note: You need to sharpen the A string on your violin.
Phrasal verbs
Translations of “sharpen”
in Korean 날카롭게 하다…
in Arabic يَشْحَذ…
in Portuguese afiar…
in Catalan esmolar…
in Japanese (刃物など)をとぐ, 鋭くする…
in Italian affilare, appuntire…
in Chinese (Traditional) 能切斷, 使變尖, 使鋒利…
in Russian точить…
in Turkish bilemek, keskinleştirmek, sivriltmek…
in Chinese (Simplified) 能切断, 使变尖, 使锋利…
in Polish ostrzyć…
(Definition of sharpen from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of sharpen?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “sharpen” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

pup

a baby of particular animals, or a puppy

Word of the Day

I won’t tolerate it! Replacing formal words with phrasal verbs.

by Liz Walter,
April 01, 2015
When you are using a language, it is important to understand if a word is formal or informal, so that you can use it in an appropriate way. You might hear people saying dosh for money, or spud for potato, but they wouldn’t write those words in a formal essay. Similarly, a

Read More 

stackin’ p

March 30, 2015
idiom slang earning a lot of money ‘That’s a very generous present.”Yeah, well, she’s stackin’ p, innit?’

Read More