Meaning of “sharp” in the English Dictionary

"sharp" in British English

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sharpadjective

uk /ʃɑːp/ us /ʃɑːrp/

sharp adjective (ABLE TO CUT)

B1 having a thin edge or point that can cut something or make a hole in something:

a knife with a sharp edge/blade.
The point of this pencil isn't sharp enough.

C2 producing or describing a quick, strong pain that makes you feel like you have been cut:

She nudged me with a sharp elbow, to tell me to be quiet.
I have this sharp pain in my chest, doctor.

used to describe a part of someone's face that is very pointed:

a thin face with a sharp nose

If someone is sharp or makes a sharp statement, they speak or act in a severe and angry way that can hurt other people:

He was a little sharp with me when I asked him to help.
The proposals came in for some sharp criticism.

More examples

  • The doctor used a sharp instrument to dig a piece of glass out of my finger.
  • Careful with that open tin - it's got a very sharp edge.
  • File down the sharp edges.
  • Shopkeepers are not supposed to sell knives and other sharp implements to children.
  • I felt a sharp pain and looked down to see blood pouring from my leg.

sharp adjective (SUDDEN)

B2 happening suddenly, quickly, and strongly:

a sharp drop in temperature
a sharp decline in the standard of living
a sharp rise/increase in the number of cases of the disease
a sharp bend in the road
to suffer a sharp blow to the head

More examples

  • A sharp tap on the knee usually causes an involuntary movement of the lower leg.
  • She gave me a sharp jab in the ribs with her elbow to stop me from saying any more.
  • She pulled the bush out of the ground with a sharp jerk.
  • The latest crime figures show a sharp rise in burglaries.
  • Investors should not expect a sharp upturn in the economy.

sharp adjective (CLEVER)

B2 mainly approving intelligent or quick to notice things:

Birdwatchers need to have sharp ears and eyes.
She has a sharp eye for a bargain.
Our new director is very sharp.
He was a man of sharp wit/sharp-witted man who always spoke his mind.
The play was full of sharp one-liners.
US He may be old but he's still as sharp as a tack.
sharpness
noun [ U ] uk /ˈʃɑːp.nəs/ us /ˈʃɑːrp.nəs/

She has a remarkable sharpness of mind.
the sharpness of a photograph/image

sharpadverb

uk /ʃɑːp/ us /ʃɑːrp/

sharpadjective, adverb

uk /ʃɑːp/ us /ʃɑːrp/

sharpnoun [ C ]

uk /ʃɑːp/ us /ʃɑːrp/

(Definition of “sharp” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"sharp" in American English

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sharpadjective [ -er/-est only ]

us /ʃɑrp/

sharp adjective [ -er/-est only ] (ABLE TO CUT)

having a thin edge or point that can cut something:

a sharp blade/knife
She put a sharp point on the pencil.

sharp adjective [ -er/-est only ] (SUDDEN)

sudden and immediately noticeable:

a sharp drop in temperature
a sharp increase in prices
There’s a sharp curve in the road up ahead.

sharp adjective [ -er/-est only ] (STRONGLY FELT)

strongly felt:

As he leaned over, he felt a sudden, sharp pain in his lower back.
This sauce is pretty sharp (= It has a strong taste).

sharp adjective [ -er/-est only ] (SEVERE)

intended to be strong enough to be felt as painful:

The candidate delivered a sharp attack on her opponent’s voting record.
Leonard has a sharp tongue (= often speaks in a severe and critical way).

sharp adjective [ -er/-est only ] (CLEAR)

easy to see or understand; clear:

High-definition television produces a very sharp picture.
Sales this month were up, in sharp contrast to the dismal sales of the last few months.

sharp adjective [ -er/-est only ] (QUICK)

able to understand or see quickly and easily:

She has a really sharp mind and a great sense of humor.

sharp adjective [ -er/-est only ] (FASHIONABLE)

infml fashionable:

a sharp dresser
sharpness
noun [ U ] us /ˈʃɑrp·nəs/

sharpadjective, adverb [ -er/-est only ]

us /ʃɑrp/

sharp adjective, adverb [ -er/-est only ] (MUSIC)

music higher in pitch than a particular note or the correct note

sharpadverb [ not gradable ]

us /ʃɑrp/

sharp adverb [ not gradable ] (EXACTLY)

exactly at the stated time:

The tour bus will leave at 8:30 a.m. sharp.

sharpnoun [ C ]

us /ʃɑrp/

sharp noun [ C ] (MUSIC)

music a mark in written music showing that a note should be played a half step higher:

(Definition of “sharp” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"sharp" in Business English

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sharpadjective

uk /ʃɑːp/ us

a sharp change is sudden and very noticeable:

a sharp rise/increase in sth Analysts expect a sharp rise in core inflation to 2.7%.
The decision is likely to mean a sharp increase in regulatory fees paid by companies registered as sponsors.
a sharp drop/decline/fall in sth There has been a sharp decline in the standard of living.
Builders faced a sharp drop in construction spending in November.

showing intelligence and excellent judgement:

The two are very sharp businessmen who have seen their property business move from handling small-scale office developments to schemes totaling €800 million.
She is known in the media as a sharp and incisive thinker.

sharp language is severe and angry:

The CEO's proposals came in for some sharp criticism.
be sharp with sb He was sharp with me when I asked him to help.
Gomez's business practices came under sharp attack at the Senate hearing.
in sharp contrast (to sth)

in a way that is clearly recognized as different to something else:

Sales were particularly strong last month, in sharp contrast to its main competitors.

(Definition of “sharp” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)