adjective, sharp·er, sharp·est.
- (of a tone) raised a chromatic half step in pitch: F sharp.
- above an intended pitch, as a note; too high (opposed to flat1def 26b).
verb (used with object)
verb (used without object)
- a tone one chromatic half step above a given tone.
- (in musical notation) the symbol ♯ indicating this.
Origin of sharp
Synonyms for sharp
Antonyms for sharp
Examples from the Web for sharpness
Historical Examples of sharpness
"There is no flattery in that remark," answered Billy, with a touch of sharpness.
"We ask no service of you, sir," said Ruth, her voice a sword of sharpness.Mistress Wilding
She said, with some sharpness, "I know nothing of Mr Boswell."James Boswell
William Keith Leask
It was a sudden change of pace, due mainly to the sharpness of the turn.The Fiery Totem
His sole virtue is his obscurity, the sharpness of his bones his only protection.Mixed Faces
- (immediately postpositive)denoting a note that has been raised in pitch by one chromatic semitoneB sharp
- (of an instrument, voice, etc) out of tune by being or tending to be too high in pitchCompare flat 1 (def. 23)
- too smart
- an accidental that raises the pitch of the following note by one chromatic semitoneUsual symbol: ♯
- a note affected by this accidentalCompare flat 1 (def. 35)
Word Origin for sharp
Old English scearp "having a cutting edge; pointed; intellectually acute, active, shrewd; keen (of senses); severe; biting, bitter (of tastes)," from Proto-Germanic *skarpaz, literally "cutting" (cf. Old Saxon scarp, Old Norse skarpr, Old Frisian skerp, Dutch scherp, German scharf "sharp"), from PIE *(s)ker- (1) "to cut" (cf. Lettish skarbs "sharp," Middle Irish cerb "cutting;" see shear).
The figurative meaning "acute or penetrating in intellect or perception" was in Old English; hence "keenly alive to one's own interests, quick to take advantage" (1690s). Of words or talk, "cutting, sarcastic," from early 13c. Meaning "distinct in contour" is from 1670s. The adverbial meaning "abruptly" is from 1836; that of "promptly" is first attested 1840. The musical meaning "half step above (a given tone)" is from 1570s. Meaning "stylish" is from 1944, hepster slang, from earlier general slang sense of "excellent" (1940). Phrase sharp as a tack first recorded 1912 (sharp as a needle has been around since Old English). Sharp-shinned attested from 1704 of persons, 1813 of hawks.
In addition to the idioms beginning with sharp
- sharp as a tack
- sharp practice
- keep an eye (a sharp lookout) for
- look sharp