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keen

1
[keen]
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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.
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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

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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. 2018

Related Words for keenness

intelligence, sharpness, acumen, acuteness, shrewdness, judgment

Examples from the Web for keenness

Historical Examples of keenness

  • Of his keenness of observation take the following illustration.

    Self-Help

    Samuel Smiles

  • A slender toque brought out the keenness in the oval of her face.

    Bride of the Mistletoe

    James Lane Allen

  • She set too high value upon her acumen, upon the keenness of her instincts.

    The Lion's Skin

    Rafael Sabatini

  • Still it was hers, awarded to her because of keenness of brain and faithfulness of action.

    The Gorgeous Girl

    Nalbro Bartley

  • Powers of mind that had been dulled were restored to animation and keenness.


British Dictionary definitions for keenness

keen

1
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
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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)
  1. to lament the dead
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noun
  1. a dirge or lament for the dead
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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 keenness

n.

1520s, from keen (adj.) + -ness.

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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.

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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper