- finely sharpened, as an edge; so shaped as to cut or pierce substances readily: a keen razor.
- sharp, piercing, or biting: a keen wind; keen satire.
- characterized by strength and distinctness of perception; extremely sensitive or responsive: keen eyes; keen ears.
- having or showing great mental penetration or acumen: keen reasoning; a keen mind.
- animated by or showing strong feeling or desire: keen competition.
- intense, as feeling or desire: keen ambition; keen jealousy.
- eager; interested; enthusiastic (often followed by about, on, etc., or an infinitive): She is really keen on going swimming.
- Slang. great; wonderful; marvelous.
Origin of keen1
SynonymsSee more synonyms for keen on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for keenest
Lest we forget, the Republican candidate in 2012 with the keenest interest in technology was Texas Governor Rick Perry.Stuart Stevens, Half Right
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 Revenge of Daria
May 15, 2010
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
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
- 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
- to lament the dead
- a dirge or lament for the dead
Word Origin and History for keenest
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.
"lament," 1811, from Irish caoinim "I weep, wail, lament," from Old Irish coinim "I wail." Related: Keened; keening. As a noun from 1830.