- finely sharpened, as an edge; so shaped as to cut or pierce substances readily: a keen razor.
- sharp, piercing, or biting: a keen wind; keen satire.
- characterized by strength and distinctness of perception; extremely sensitive or responsive: keen eyes; keen ears.
- having or showing great mental penetration or acumen: keen reasoning; a keen mind.
- animated by or showing strong feeling or desire: keen competition.
- intense, as feeling or desire: keen ambition; keen jealousy.
- eager; interested; enthusiastic (often followed by about, on, etc., or an infinitive): She is really keen on going swimming.
- Slang. great; wonderful; marvelous.
Origin of keen1
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for keenly
Hildebrand was keenly aware of the grievous failures of Christians under Nazism.The Catholic Philosopher Who Took on Hitler
John Henry Crosby
December 26, 2014
This has made us keenly aware of the pain of being demonized simply for our faith.Stop the Anti-Semitism When Talking Gaza
August 7, 2014
But as we are all keenly aware, fate had far different plans.Do Palestinians Really Exist?
July 31, 2014
I am keenly aware that such a view might be perceived by some as having a good dose of paranoia of my own.Even After Hobby Lobby, the Religious Right is Still Terrified
July 6, 2014
The Kennan Diaries contains many other keenly observed descriptions of people, places, and events.The Man Who Knew Russia Best: George Kennan’s Revealing Diaries
James A. Warren
March 10, 2014
He watched the face of the other keenly, but the old man was busy filling his pipe.Way of the Lawless
With narrow, alert eyes, Linda was watching, and her brain was keenly alive.Her Father's Daughter
The woman was watching him keenly, beneath her lowered lashes.The Black Bag
Louis Joseph Vance
She felt the parting with old friends at Lake Megantic keenly.The Hunted Outlaw
Something had made her keenly and additionally sensitive just now.Little Dorrit
- eager or enthusiastic
- (postpositive foll by on) fond (of); devoted (to)keen on a girl; keen on golf
- intellectually acutea keen wit
- (of sight, smell, hearing, etc) capable of recognizing fine distinctions
- having a sharp cutting edge or point
- extremely cold and penetratinga keen wind
- intense or stronga keen desire
- mainly British extremely low so as to be competitivekeen prices
- slang, mainly US and Canadian very good
- to lament the dead
- a dirge or lament for the dead
Word Origin and History for keenly
c.1200, from Old English cene "bold brave," later "clever, wise," from Proto-Germanic *kan- "be able to" (see can). Original prehistoric senses seem to have been both "brave" and "skilled;" cognate with Old Norse kænn "skillful, wise," Middle Dutch coene "bold," Dutch koen, Old High German kuon "pugnacious, strong," German kühn "bold, daring." Sense of "eager" is from mid-14c. The meaning "sharp" is peculiar to English: of blades and edges early 13c., of sounds c.1400, of eyesight c.1720. A popular word of approval in teenager and student slang from c.1900.
"lament," 1811, from Irish caoinim "I weep, wail, lament," from Old Irish coinim "I wail." Related: Keened; keening. As a noun from 1830.