[ shahrp ]
See synonyms for sharp on
adjective,sharp·er, sharp·est.
  1. having a thin cutting edge or a fine point; well-adapted for cutting or piercing: a sharp knife.

  2. terminating in an edge or point; not blunt or rounded: The table had sharp corners.

  1. involving a sudden or abrupt change in direction or course: a sharp curve in the road; The car made a sharp turn.

  2. abrupt, as an ascent: a sharp drop.

  3. consisting of angular lines and pointed forms or of thin, long features: He had a sharp face.

  4. clearly defined; distinct: a sharp photographic image.

  5. distinct or marked, as a contrast: sharp differences of opinion.

  6. pungent or biting in taste: a sharp cheese.

  7. piercing or shrill in sound: a sharp cry.

  8. keenly cold, as weather: a sharp, biting wind.

  9. felt acutely; intense; distressing: sharp pain.

  10. merciless, caustic, or harsh: sharp words.

  11. fierce or violent: a sharp struggle.

  12. keen or eager: sharp desire.

  13. quick, brisk, or spirited.

  14. alert or vigilant: They kept a sharp watch for the enemy.

  15. mentally acute: a sharp lad.

  16. extremely sensitive or responsive; keen: sharp vision; sharp hearing.

  17. shrewd or astute: a sharp bargainer.

  18. shrewd to the point of dishonesty: sharp practice.

  19. Music.

    • (of a tone) raised a chromatic half step in pitch: F sharp.

    • above an intended pitch, as a note; too high (opposed to flat1 def. 26b).

  20. Informal. very stylish: a sharp dresser; a sharp jacket.

  21. Radio, Electronics. of, relating to, or responsive to a very narrow range of frequencies.: Compare broadband.

  22. Phonetics. fortis; voiceless.

  23. composed of hard, angular grains, as sand.

verb (used with object)
  1. Music. to raise in pitch, especially by one chromatic half step.

verb (used without object)
  1. to sound above the true pitch.

  1. keenly or acutely.

  2. abruptly or suddenly: to pull a horse up sharp.

  1. punctually: Meet me at one o'clock sharp.

  2. briskly; quickly: The horse turned sharp to the left.

  3. Music. above the true pitch: You're singing a little sharp.

  1. something sharp.

  2. Usually sharps . a medium-length needle with a rounded eye and a sharp point, used for all-purpose hand sewing.

  1. a sharper.

  2. Informal. an expert.

  3. Music.

    • a tone one chromatic half step above a given tone.

    • (in musical notation) the symbol ♯ indicating this.

Idioms about sharp

  1. look sharp. look (def. 37).

Origin of sharp

First recordedbefore 900; (adjective) Middle English; Old English scearp; cognate with German scharf; (adverb) Middle English; Old English scearpe, derivative of the adjective; (noun, verb) Middle English, derivative of the adjective

synonym study For sharp

1. Sharp, keen refer to the edge or point of an instrument, tool, and the like. Sharp applies, in general, to a cutting edge or a point capable of piercing: a sharp knife; a sharp point. Keen is usually applied to sharp edges: a keen sword blade. 17. As applied to mental qualities, sharp, keen, intelligent, quick have varying implications. Sharp suggests an acute, sensitive, alert, penetrating quality: a sharp mind. Keen implies observant, incisive, and vigorous: a keen intellect. Intelligent means not only acute, alert, and active, but also able to reason and understand: an intelligent reader. Quick suggests lively and rapid comprehension, prompt response to instruction, and the like: quick at figures.

Other words for sharp

Opposites for sharp

Other words from sharp

  • sharply, adverb
  • sharpness, noun
  • o·ver·sharp, adjective
  • su·per·sharp, adjective
  • ul·tra·sharp, adjective
  • un·sharp, adjective
  • un·sharp·ly, adverb
  • un·sharp·ness, noun
  • un·sharped, adjective
  • un·sharp·ing, adjective

Other definitions for Sharp (2 of 2)

[ shahrp ]

  1. William "Fiona Macleod", 1855?–1905, Scottish poet and critic. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use sharp in a sentence

  • He has a big personality made for TV, plenty of moxie, ego and mental sharpness.

    Piers Morgan’s Comeback Strategy | Shelley Ross | February 27, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
  • The effort to speak in her usual tone lent to her voice a sharpness that startled herself.

    Tessa Wadsworth's Discipline | Jennie M. Drinkwater
  • The extreme sharpness of the air acted on his nerves like an astringent, and braced them swiftly.

    Tales and Fantasies | Robert Louis Stevenson
  • She rightly conjectured that the girl was already ashamed of her sharpness, and wished to make amends in some way.

    Joyce's Investments | Fannie E. Newberry
  • In spite of his reassuring words, the woman caught the full meaning of the goading sharpness in his voice.

    The Winning Clue | James Hay, Jr.
  • With a sudden whip-like sharpness: "You didn't tell anyone about this meeting, did you?"

    Security | Poul William Anderson

British Dictionary definitions for sharp (1 of 2)


/ (ʃɑːp) /

  1. having a keen edge suitable for cutting

  2. having an edge or point; not rounded or blunt

  1. involving a sudden change, esp in direction: a sharp bend

  2. moving, acting, or reacting quickly, efficiently, etc: sharp reflexes

  3. clearly defined

  4. mentally acute; clever; astute

  5. sly or artful; clever in an underhand way: sharp practice

  6. bitter or harsh: sharp words

  7. shrill or penetrating: a sharp cry

  8. having an acrid taste

  9. keen; biting: a sharp wind; sharp pain

  10. music

    • (immediately postpositive) denoting a note that has been raised in pitch by one chromatic semitone: B sharp

    • (of an instrument, voice, etc) out of tune by being or tending to be too high in pitch: Compare flat 1 (def. 23)

  11. phonetics a less common word for fortis

  12. informal

    • stylish

    • too smart

  13. at the sharp end involved in the area of any activity where there is most difficulty, competition, danger, etc

  1. in a sharp manner

  2. exactly: six o'clock sharp

  1. music

    • higher than a standard pitch

    • out of tune by being or tending to be too high in pitch: she sings sharp Compare flat 1 (def. 29)

  1. music

    • an accidental that raises the pitch of the following note by one chromatic semitone: Usual symbol:

    • a note affected by this accidental: Compare flat 1 (def. 35)

  2. a thin needle with a sharp point

  1. informal a sharper

  2. (usually plural) any medical instrument with sharp point or edge, esp a hypodermic needle

  1. (tr) music, US and Canadian to raise the pitch of (a note), esp by one chromatic semitone: Usual equivalent in Britain and certain other countries): sharpen

  1. Southern African slang an exclamation of full agreement or approval

Origin of sharp

Old English scearp; related to Old Norse skarpr, Old High German scarpf, Old Irish cerb, Lettish skarbs

Derived forms of sharp

  • sharply, adverb
  • sharpness, noun

British Dictionary definitions for Sharp (2 of 2)


/ (ʃɑːp) /

  1. Cecil (James). 1859–1924, British musician, best known for collecting, editing, and publishing English folk songs

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with sharp


In addition to the idioms beginning with sharp

  • sharp as a tack
  • sharp practice

also see:

  • keep an eye (a sharp lookout) for
  • look sharp

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.