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 keenest

Contemporary Examples of keenest

  • Lest we forget, the Republican candidate in 2012 with the keenest interest in technology was Texas Governor Rick Perry.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Stuart Stevens, Half Right

    David Frum

    February 25, 2013

  • If she were a real person, Daria, who had the keenest eye for irony of her generation, would just love that.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Revenge of Daria

    Rebecca Dana

    May 15, 2010

Historical Examples of keenest

  • The second course was so equal that the keenest judges could not discern any vantage.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • His keenest inquiries had been unable to pierce the secret of her birth and station.

    Leila, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • The keenest sense-impressions are undoubtedly those of contrast.

    The Forest

    Stewart Edward White

  • Belknap-Jackson wore an expression of the keenest disrelish.

    Ruggles of Red Gap

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • He knew them all, and watched them with the keenest interest.

    The Law-Breakers

    Ridgwell Cullum


British Dictionary definitions for keenest

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 keenest

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