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sharp Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun a musical notation indicating one half step higher than the note named
  2. noun a long thin sewing needle with a sharp point
  3. adjective satellite (of something seen or heard) clearly defined
    • a sharp photographic image
    • the sharp crack of a twig
    • the crisp snap of dry leaves underfoot
  4. adjective satellite ending in a sharp point
    acuate; needlelike; acute.
  5. adjective satellite having or demonstrating ability to recognize or draw fine distinctions
    acute; penetrating; incisive; penetrative; piercing; discriminating; keen; knifelike.
    • an acute observer of politics and politicians
    • incisive comments
    • icy knifelike reasoning
    • as sharp and incisive as the stroke of a fang
    • penetrating insight
    • frequent penetrative observations
  6. adjective satellite marked by practical hardheaded intelligence
    shrewd; astute.
    • a smart businessman
    • an astute tenant always reads the small print in a lease
    • he was too shrewd to go along with them on a road that could lead only to their overthrow
  7. adjective satellite harsh
    sharp-worded; tart.
    • sharp criticism
    • a sharp-worded exchange
    • a tart remark
  8. adjective satellite having or emitting a high-pitched and sharp tone or tones
    • a shrill whistle
    • a shrill gaiety
  9. adjective satellite extremely steep
    abrupt; precipitous.
    • an abrupt canyon
    • the precipitous rapids of the upper river
    • the precipitous hills of Chinese paintings
    • a sharp drop
  10. adjective keenly and painfully felt; as if caused by a sharp edge or point
    • a sharp pain
    • sharp winds
  11. adjective having or made by a thin edge or sharp point; suitable for cutting or piercing
    • a sharp knife
    • a pencil with a sharp point
  12. adjective (of a musical note) raised in pitch by one chromatic semitone
    • C sharp
  13. adjective satellite very sudden and in great amount or degree
    • a sharp drop in the stock market
  14. adjective satellite quick and forceful
    • a sharp blow
  15. adverb changing suddenly in direction and degree
    acutely; sharply.
    • the road twists sharply after the light
    • turn sharp left here
    • the visor was acutely peaked
    • her shoes had acutely pointed toes

Sharp adjective
OE. sharp, scharp, scarp, AS. scearp; akin to OS. skarp, LG. scharp, D. scherp, G. scharf, Dan. & Sw. skarp, Icel. skarpr. Cf. Escarp, Scrape, Scorpion.
comparative Sharper ; superlative Sharpest
  1. Having a very thin edge or fine point; of a nature to cut or pierce easily; not blunt or dull; keen.
    He dies upon my scimeter's sharp point. Shak.
  2. Terminating in a point or edge; not obtuse or rounded; somewhat pointed or edged; peaked or ridged; as, a sharp hill; sharp features.
  3. Affecting the sense as if pointed or cutting, keen, penetrating, acute: to the taste or smell, pungent, acid, sour, as ammonia has a sharp taste and odor; to the hearing, piercing, shrill, as a sharp sound or voice; to the eye, instantaneously brilliant, dazzling, as a sharp flash.
  4. (Mus.) (a) High in pitch; acute; as, a sharp note or tone. (b) Raised a semitone in pitch; as, C sharp (C♯), which is a half step, or semitone, higher than C. (c) So high as to be out of tune, or above true pitch; as, the tone is sharp; that instrument is sharp. Opposed in all these senses to flat.
  5. Very trying to the feelings; pierching; keen; severe; painful; distressing; as, sharp pain, weather; a sharp and frosty air.
    Sharp misery had worn him to the bones. Shak.
    The morning sharp and clear. Cowper.
    In sharpest perils faithful proved. Keble.
  6. Cutting in language or import; biting; sarcastic; cruel; harsh; rigorous; severe; as, a sharp rebuke. "That sharp look." Tennyson.
    To that place the sharp Athenian law Can not pursue us. Shak.
    Be thy words severe, Sharp as merits but the sword forbear. Dryden.
  7. Of keen perception; quick to discern or distinguish; having nice discrimination; acute; penetrating; sagacious; clever; as, a sharp eye; sharp sight, hearing, or judgment.
    Nothing makes men sharper . . . than want. Addison.
    Many other things belong to the material world, wherein the sharpest philosophers have never ye arrived at clear and distinct ideas. L. Watts.
  8. Eager in pursuit; keen in quest; impatient for gratification; keen; as, a sharp appetite.
  9. Fierce; ardent; fiery; violent; impetuous. "In sharp contest of battle." Milton.
    A sharp assault already is begun. Dryden.
  10. Keenly or unduly attentive to one's own interest; close and exact in dealing; shrewd; as, a sharp dealer; a sharp customer.
    The necessity of being so sharp and exacting. Swift.
  11. Composed of hard, angular grains; gritty; as, sharp sand. Moxon.
  12. Steep; precipitous; abrupt; as, a sharp ascent or descent; a sharp turn or curve.
  13. (Phonetics) Uttered in a whisper, or with the breath alone, without voice, as certain consonants, such as p, k, t, f; surd; nonvocal; aspirated. Sharp is often used in the formation of self-explaining compounds; as, sharp-cornered, sharp-edged, sharp-pointed, sharp-tasted, sharp-visaged, etc. Syn. -- Keen; acute; piercing; penetrating; quick; sagacious; discerning; shrewd; witty; ingenious; sour; acid; tart; pungent; acrid; severe; poignant; biting; acrimonious; sarcastic; cutting; bitter; painful; afflictive; violent; harsh; fierce; ardent; fiery.
Sharp adverb
  1. To a point or edge; piercingly; eagerly; sharply. M. Arnold.
    The head [of a spear] full sharp yground. Chaucer.
    You bite so sharp at reasons. Shak.
  2. Precisely; exactly; as, we shall start at ten o'clock sharp. Colloq.
Sharp noun
  1. A sharp tool or weapon. Obs.
    If butchers had but the manners to go to sharps, gentlemen would be contented with a rubber at cuffs. Collier.
  2. (Mus.) (a) The character [♯] used to indicate that the note before which it is placed is to be raised a half step, or semitone, in pitch. (b) A sharp tone or note. Shak.
  3. A portion of a stream where the water runs very rapidly. Prov. Eng. C. Kingsley.
  4. A sewing needle having a very slender point; a needle of the most pointed of the three grades, blunts, betweens, and sharps.
  5. pl. Same as Middlings, 1.
  6. An expert. Slang
Sharp transitive verb
imperfect & past participle Sharped ; present participle & verbal noun Sharping
  1. To sharpen. Obs. Spenser.
  2. (Mus.) To raise above the proper pitch; to elevate the tone of; especially, to raise a half step, or semitone, above the natural tone.
Sharp intransitive verb
  1. To play tricks in bargaining; to act the sharper. L'Estrange.
  2. (Mus.) To sing above the proper pitch.

Webster 1913

"Rowling never met an adverb she didn't like."

-Stephen King on J.K Rowling's excessive use of adverbs.

Fear not the Adverb Hell!

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