- 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 keenness
Of his keenness of observation take the following illustration.Self-Help
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
Still it was hers, awarded to her because of keenness of brain and faithfulness of action.The Gorgeous Girl
Powers of mind that had been dulled were restored to animation and keenness.
- 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 keenness
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.