sharpen Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “sharpen” in the English Dictionary

"sharpen" in British English

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sharpenverb [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 ​cuttingproductioncosts in an ​attempt to sharpen ​itscompetitiveedge (= in ​order to ​improve how ​competitive it is).

expend iconexpend iconMore examples

  • sharpen verb [T] (MAKE STRONG)

to make something ​stronger: Recent ​changes have sharpened ​competition between the ​airlines. The ​prisonriots have sharpened the ​debate about how ​prisons should be ​run. to ​improve: I ​hope this ​course will ​help me sharpen my ​computerskills. 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?
Phrasal verbs
(Definition of sharpen from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"sharpen" in American English

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sharpenverb [T]

 us   /ˈʃɑr·pən/
  • sharpen verb [T] (MAKE STRONGER)

to make something ​stronger, or to ​improve something: The dollar’s ​decline in ​value sharpened ​fears of another ​recession. I’m taking a ​course that should ​help me sharpen my ​computerskills.
  • sharpen verb [T] (MAKE CLEARER)

to make something ​clearer: Turn the ​knob to sharpen the ​focus of the ​slideprojector.
  • sharpen verb [T] (MAKE SHARP)

to make something ​sharp or ​sharper: We just had these ​knives/​scissors sharpened. He sharpened his ​pencil (= made the end used for writing come to a ​point).
(Definition of sharpen from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
Translations of “sharpen”
in Arabic يَشْحَذ…
in Korean 날카롭게 하다…
in Portuguese afiar…
in Catalan esmolar…
in Japanese (刃物など)をとぐ, 鋭くする…
in Chinese (Simplified) 能切断, 使变尖, 使锋利…
in Turkish bilemek, keskinleştirmek, sivriltmek…
in Russian точить…
in Chinese (Traditional) 能切斷, 使變尖, 使鋒利…
in Italian affilare, appuntire…
in Polish ostrzyć…
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