Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

keen1

[keen]
See more synonyms for keen on Thesaurus.com
adjective, keen·er, keen·est.
  1. finely sharpened, as an edge; so shaped as to cut or pierce substances readily: a keen razor.
  2. sharp, piercing, or biting: a keen wind; keen satire.
  3. characterized by strength and distinctness of perception; extremely sensitive or responsive: keen eyes; keen ears.
  4. having or showing great mental penetration or acumen: keen reasoning; a keen mind.
  5. animated by or showing strong feeling or desire: keen competition.
  6. intense, as feeling or desire: keen ambition; keen jealousy.
  7. eager; interested; enthusiastic (often followed by about, on, etc., or an infinitive): She is really keen on going swimming.
  8. Slang. great; wonderful; marvelous.
Show More

Origin of keen1

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

See more synonyms for keen on Thesaurus.com
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

1, 3, 4. dull.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for keenest

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • 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

keen1

adjective
  1. eager or enthusiastic
  2. (postpositive foll by on) fond (of); devoted (to)keen on a girl; keen on golf
  3. intellectually acutea keen wit
  4. (of sight, smell, hearing, etc) capable of recognizing fine distinctions
  5. having a sharp cutting edge or point
  6. extremely cold and penetratinga keen wind
  7. intense or stronga keen desire
  8. mainly British extremely low so as to be competitivekeen prices
  9. slang, mainly US and Canadian very good
Show More
Derived Formskeenly, adverbkeenness, noun

Word Origin

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

keen2

verb (intr)
  1. to lament the dead
Show More
noun
  1. a dirge or lament for the dead
Show More
Derived Formskeener, noun

Word Origin

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.

Show More

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.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper