- having a thin cutting edge or a fine point; well-adapted for cutting or piercing: a sharp knife.
- terminating in an edge or point; not blunt or rounded: The table had sharp corners.
- involving a sudden or abrupt change in direction or course: a sharp curve in the road; The car made a sharp turn.
- abrupt, as an ascent: a sharp drop.
- consisting of angular lines and pointed forms or of thin, long features: He had a sharp face.
- clearly defined; distinct: a sharp photographic image.
- distinct or marked, as a contrast: sharp differences of opinion.
- pungent or biting in taste: a sharp cheese.
- piercing or shrill in sound: a sharp cry.
- keenly cold, as weather: a sharp, biting wind.
- felt acutely; intense; distressing: sharp pain.
- merciless, caustic, or harsh: sharp words.
- fierce or violent: a sharp struggle.
- keen or eager: sharp desire.
- quick, brisk, or spirited.
- alert or vigilant: They kept a sharp watch for the enemy.
- mentally acute: a sharp lad.
- extremely sensitive or responsive; keen: sharp vision; sharp hearing.
- shrewd or astute: a sharp bargainer.
- shrewd to the point of dishonesty: sharp practice.
- (of a tone) raised a chromatic half step in pitch: F sharp.
- above an intended pitch, as a note; too high (opposed to flat1def 26b).
- Informal. very stylish: a sharp dresser; a sharp jacket.
- Radio, Electronics. of, relating to, or responsive to a very narrow range of frequencies.Compare broadband.
- Phonetics. fortis; voiceless.
- composed of hard, angular grains, as sand.
- Music. to raise in pitch, especially by one chromatic half step.
- to sound above the true pitch.
- keenly or acutely.
- abruptly or suddenly: to pull a horse up sharp.
- punctually: Meet me at one o'clock sharp.
- vigilantly: Look sharp!
- briskly; quickly.
- Music. above the true pitch: You're singing a little sharp.
- something sharp.
- Usually sharps. a medium-length needle with a rounded eye and a sharp point, used for all-purpose hand sewing.
- a sharper.
- Informal. an expert.
- a tone one chromatic half step above a given tone.
- (in musical notation) the symbol ♯ indicating this.
Origin of sharp
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for sharply
And why has tuition risen so sharply at public universities?The Student Loan Crisis That Isn’t About Kids at Harvard
November 30, 2014
The sharply tailored blazer and weighty jewelry that cling to her body hints at the dominant personality she possesses.Whip It: Secrets of a Dominatrix
November 25, 2014
The country is divided, sharply and unrelentingly, over the same questions.A Reminder: Our Justices are Politicians in Robes
November 13, 2014
Women in America are drinking more than ever before, and they are suffering the consequences in sharply rising numbers.Elizabeth Peña and the Truth About Alcoholic Women
October 24, 2014
Lena Dunham discusses it all—and then some—in her brutally honest, sharply funny memoir, ‘Not That Kind of Girl.’Speed Read: Lena Dunham’s Most Shocking Confessions From ‘Not That Kind of Girl’
September 26, 2014
The old man was peering at him sharply from under the grey protruding brows.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
At the risk of overturning the machine he veered it sharply to the left.Way of the Lawless
"They sent her to prison for three years," she answered, sharply.
"I can't see any one to-night, Thomas," he exclaimed, sharply.
This was sharply answered by the ring of rifles to the right.In the Midst of Alarms
- Cecil (James). 1859–1924, British musician, best known for collecting, editing, and publishing English folk songs
- having a keen edge suitable for cutting
- having an edge or point; not rounded or blunt
- involving a sudden change, esp in directiona sharp bend
- moving, acting, or reacting quickly, efficiently, etcsharp reflexes
- clearly defined
- mentally acute; clever; astute
- sly or artful; clever in an underhand waysharp practice
- bitter or harshsharp words
- shrill or penetratinga sharp cry
- having an acrid taste
- keen; bitinga sharp wind; sharp pain
- (immediately postpositive)denoting a note that has been raised in pitch by one chromatic semitoneB sharp
- (of an instrument, voice, etc) out of tune by being or tending to be too high in pitchCompare flat 1 (def. 23)
- phonetics a less common word for fortis
- too smart
- at the sharp end involved in the area of any activity where there is most difficulty, competition, danger, etc
- in a sharp manner
- exactlysix o'clock sharp
- higher than a standard pitch
- out of tune by being or tending to be too high in pitchshe sings sharp Compare flat 1 (def. 29)
- an accidental that raises the pitch of the following note by one chromatic semitoneUsual symbol: ♯
- a note affected by this accidentalCompare flat 1 (def. 35)
- a thin needle with a sharp point
- informal a sharper
- (usually plural) any medical instrument with sharp point or edge, esp a hypodermic needle
- (tr) music, US and Canadian to raise the pitch of (a note), esp by one chromatic semitoneUsual equivalent in Britain and certain other countries): sharpen
- Southern African slang an exclamation of full agreement or approval
Word Origin and History for sharply
Old English scearp "having a cutting edge; pointed; intellectually acute, active, shrewd; keen (of senses); severe; biting, bitter (of tastes)," from Proto-Germanic *skarpaz, literally "cutting" (cf. Old Saxon scarp, Old Norse skarpr, Old Frisian skerp, Dutch scherp, German scharf "sharp"), from PIE *(s)ker- (1) "to cut" (cf. Lettish skarbs "sharp," Middle Irish cerb "cutting;" see shear).
The figurative meaning "acute or penetrating in intellect or perception" was in Old English; hence "keenly alive to one's own interests, quick to take advantage" (1690s). Of words or talk, "cutting, sarcastic," from early 13c. Meaning "distinct in contour" is from 1670s. The adverbial meaning "abruptly" is from 1836; that of "promptly" is first attested 1840. The musical meaning "half step above (a given tone)" is from 1570s. Meaning "stylish" is from 1944, hepster slang, from earlier general slang sense of "excellent" (1940). Phrase sharp as a tack first recorded 1912 (sharp as a needle has been around since Old English). Sharp-shinned attested from 1704 of persons, 1813 of hawks.