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2017 Word of the Year

keen1

[keen] /kin/
adjective, keener, keenest.
1.
finely sharpened, as an edge; so shaped as to cut or pierce substances readily:
a keen razor.
2.
sharp, piercing, or biting:
a keen wind; keen satire.
3.
characterized by strength and distinctness of perception; extremely sensitive or responsive:
keen eyes; keen ears.
4.
having or showing great mental penetration or acumen:
keen reasoning; a keen mind.
5.
animated by or showing strong feeling or desire:
keen competition.
6.
intense, as feeling or desire:
keen ambition; keen jealousy.
7.
eager; interested; enthusiastic (often followed by about, on, etc., or an infinitive):
She is really keen on going swimming.
8.
Slang. great; wonderful; marvelous.
Origin of keen1
900
before 900; 1930-35 for def 8; Middle English kene, Old English cēne; cognate with German kühn, Old High German chuoni bold, Old Norse kœnn wise, skillful
Related forms
keenly, adverb
keenness, noun
Synonyms
1, 4. See sharp. 2. cutting, bitter, caustic. 3. piercing, penetrating, acute. 4. discerning, acute, astute, sagacious, shrewd, clever. 5. See avid. 7. earnest, fervid.
Antonyms
1, 3, 4. dull.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for keenness
Historical Examples
  • Of his keenness of observation take the following illustration.

    Self-Help Samuel Smiles
  • A slender toque brought out the keenness in the oval of her face.

    Bride of the Mistletoe James Lane Allen
  • She set too high value upon her acumen, upon the keenness of her instincts.

    The Lion's Skin Rafael Sabatini
  • Still it was hers, awarded to her because of keenness of brain and faithfulness of action.

    The Gorgeous Girl

    Nalbro Bartley
  • Powers of mind that had been dulled were restored to animation and keenness.

  • But he did not; nor did Bale, though the servant's face betrayed the keenness of his anxiety.

    The Wild Geese Stanley John Weyman
  • On these he expatiated with all the keenness of argument, joined to logical reasoning.

  • I admit nothing, my boy, save that the keenness of the chase is gone.

    The Lure of the Mask Harold MacGrath
  • There was fascination in his glance, and yet it had the dagger's keenness.

    Ernest Linwood Caroline Lee Hentz
  • The wisdom and keenness of observation they show are amazing.

    Quiet Talks on Power S.D. Gordon
British Dictionary definitions for keenness

keen1

/kiːn/
adjective
1.
eager or enthusiastic
2.
(postpositive) foll by on. fond (of); devoted (to): keen on a girl, keen on golf
3.
intellectually acute: a keen wit
4.
(of sight, smell, hearing, etc) capable of recognizing fine distinctions
5.
having a sharp cutting edge or point
6.
extremely cold and penetrating: a keen wind
7.
intense or strong: a keen desire
8.
(mainly Brit) extremely low so as to be competitive: keen prices
9.
(slang, mainly US & Canadian) very good
Derived Forms
keenly, adverb
keenness, noun
Word Origin
Old English cēne; related to Old High German kuoni brave, Old Norse koenn wise; see can1, know

keen2

/kiːn/
verb (intransitive)
1.
to lament the dead
noun
2.
a dirge or lament for the dead
Derived Forms
keener, noun
Word Origin
C19: from Irish Gaelic caoine, from Old Irish coīnim I wail
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for keenness
n.

1520s, from keen (adj.) + -ness.

keen

adj.

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.

keen

v.

"lament," 1811, from Irish caoinim "I weep, wail, lament," from Old Irish coinim "I wail." Related: Keened; keening. As a noun from 1830.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for keenness

keen

adjective

Excellent; wonderful; neat: I think she's a keen kid/ ''Keen?'' Blanche said. ''I haven't heard that word in 20 years'' (1900+ Teenagers & students)

Related Terms

peachy

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Nearby words for keenness

Word Value for keenness

12
14
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