keen

1
[keen]
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adjective, keen·er, keen·est.


Origin of keen

1
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 formskeen·ly, adverbkeen·ness, noun

Synonyms for keen

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 for keen

1, 3, 4. dull.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


Examples from the Web for keener

Contemporary Examples of keener

Historical Examples of keener

  • The keener the competition, the greater the honor of success.

  • That I could elude Rima's keener eyes I doubted; but that did not trouble me.

    Green Mansions

    W. H. Hudson

  • But he was man enough to look at her with a keener interest than he had felt before.

    Good Indian

    B. M. Bower

  • It helped him to a clearer and keener perception of the place assigned him by the family.

    Little Dorrit

    Charles Dickens

  • Unhappy is that man, of necessity, whose perceptions are keener than his faith is strong.

    A Dish Of Orts

    George MacDonald


British Dictionary definitions for keener

keener

noun

Canadian informal a person, esp a student, who is keen, enthusiastic, or zealous

keen

1

adjective

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
Derived Formskeenly, adverbkeenness, noun

Word Origin for keen

Old English cēne; related to Old High German kuoni brave, Old Norse koenn wise; see can 1, know

keen

2

verb (intr)

to lament the dead

noun

a dirge or lament for the dead
Derived Formskeener, noun

Word Origin for keen

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

Word Origin and History for keener

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