sharpen Definition in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo
Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

Definition of “sharpen” - English Dictionary

"sharpen" in American English

See all translations

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)







"sharpen" in British English

See all translations

sharpenverb [T]

uk   /ˈʃɑː.pən/  us   /ˈʃɑːr.pən/
  • 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 Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © 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…
What is the pronunciation of sharpen?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website
There, their and they’re – which one should you use?
There, their and they’re – which one should you use?
by ,
April 27, 2016
by Liz Walter If you are a learner of English and you are confused about the words there, their and they’re, let me reassure you: many, many people with English as their first language share your problem! You only have to take a look at the ‘comments’ sections on the website of, for example, a popular

Read More 

Word of the Day

planet

an extremely large, round mass of rock and metal, such as Earth, or of gas, such as Jupiter, that moves in a circular path around the sun or another star

Word of the Day

trigger warning noun
trigger warning noun
May 02, 2016
a warning that a subject may trigger unpleasant emotions or memories This is not, I should stress, an argument that trigger warnings should become commonplace on campus.

Read More