adjective, keen·er, keen·est.
SYNONYMS FOR keen
QUIZ YOURSELF ON THE MANY TYPES OF NOUNS
Origin of keen1
OTHER WORDS FROM keenkeen·ly, adverbkeen·ness, noun
Words nearby keen
Definition for keen (2 of 2)
verb (used without object)
verb (used with object)
Origin of keen2
OTHER WORDS FROM keenkeener, noun
WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT KEEN
What does keen mean?
Keen commonly means eager, interested, or enthusiastic. This sense of the word is often followed by about or on and the particular interest, as in He’s very keen on music.
More generally, keen means sharp, intense, or strong. It can be used to mean sharp in a literal way, as in a keen blade. It can also be used in several figurative ways. A keen sense of smell is one that’s very strong and perceptive. A keen intellect is one that’s sharp in the sense of being mentally strong. A keen desire is an intense one. A keen satire and a keen wind are both piercing and biting—they both sting.
The word keen can also be used as a slang term meaning wonderful or splendid, and this is how it’s used in the phrase peachy keen, which is used as an informal and playful way to describe something as excellent or wonderful.
Example: He showed keen jealousy over my keen knife.
Where does keen come from?
The first records of the word keen in English come from before 900. It comes from the Old English word cēne and is related to the Old Norse kœnn, meaning “wise, skillful.” Keen wasn’t used in a slang way to mean “excellent” until the 1900s.
Keen can be used in a number of different ways, but most of them involve enthusiasm, intensity, or (literal or figurative) sharpness. When keen is used to describe something sharp—like a knife or a mind—its opposite can be dull in either sense of the word. If you’re keen to do something, it means you’re excited about it—you can’t wait. If you’re not keen on something, it means you’re not interested in it or enthusiastic about it.
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What are some other forms related to keen?
- keenly (adverb)
- keenness (noun)
What are some synonyms for keen?
What are some words that share a root or word element with keen?
What are some words that often get used in discussing keen?
How is keen used in real life?
Keen can be used in many different contexts. It’s more commonly used in the U.K. than the U.S.
— Tennessean (@Tennessean) October 18, 2015
— Nebraska Game and Parks (@NEGameandParks) March 13, 2020
Scientists have learned a lot from Yellowstone wolves over the past 25 years. For instance, they aren’t so keen on the term “alphas” to describe a pack’s dominant pair anymore. A more appropriate term might be leaders or parents.https://t.co/84WmQYUViV
— Wolf Conservation Center (@nywolforg) August 31, 2020
Try using keen!
Which of the following things could be described as keen?
A. a sharp blade
B. a strong sense of hearing
C. an enthusiastic person
D. all of the above
Example sentences from the Web for keen
That’s not good for a leader like Xi, keen to rule for life.
Sorkin is keen to stress that passion and persistence matter more than talent and the value of visualizing dreams before they become reality.How CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin Would Close the Wealth Gap|Eromo Egbejule|August 26, 2020|Ozy
While countries are keen to build up scant domestic manufacturing capacity, it’s a costly and complex business, and difficult to compete with larger producers, Gavi’s Berkley said.These countries aren’t waiting for a U.S., China, or U.K. COVID vaccine|Claire Zillman, reporter|August 26, 2020|Fortune
Like young adults who are keen to leave home at age 18, young leopards migrate in order to begin their family and establish territorial control over new areas.
For the last few months, Facebook, keen to look like it’s working with credible publishing sources, has paid Upday journalists to populate its Coronavirus Information Center.
Would a state with a keen understanding of the power of propaganda be so willing to just throw away such a trove of information?
Manttan is keen to carry out research on that Burmese side of the railway as his father worked on that section.
It offers keen insights into Hitch's craft while painting an intimate and unsentimental picture of the man behind the camera.Alfred Hitchcock’s Fade to Black: The Great Director’s Final Days|David Freeman|December 13, 2014|DAILY BEAST
And because millions of us are so keen to do just that, our behavioral habits are changing.
The Telegraph reports that he is fluent in Swahili and a keen zoologist.How A British Aristocrat Used Big Game Hunter’s Sperm To Get Pregnant Without His Permission|Tom Sykes|December 2, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The student who does not intend to arouse himself need hope for no keen sense of beauty.
One other illustration of this keen childish dialectic when face to face with the accuser deserves to be touched on.Children's Ways|James Sully
Impersonation may be more easily achieved intellectually, requiring only keen observation and the power of imitation.
The keen resentment had faded from his face, but an immense reproach was there—a heavy, helpless, appealing reproach.Confidence|Henry James
Garnache bowed to the lady, who returned his greeting by an inclination of the head, and his keen eyes played briskly over her.St. Martin's Summer|Rafael Sabatini