Dictionary > English Dictionary > Definition, synonym and antonym of keen
Meaning of keen by Wiktionary Dictionary

keen


    Pronunciation

    • IPA: /kiːn/
    • Rhymes: -iːn
    • Homophone: Keane, Keene

    Etymology 1

    From Middle English kene ( “bold, brave, sharp” ), from Old English cēne ( “keen, fierce, bold, brave, warlike, powerful, learned, clever, wise” ), from Proto-Germanic *kōniz ( “knowledgeable, skillful, experienced, clever, capable” ), from Proto-Indo-European *ǵenə-, *ǵnō- ( “to know” ). Cognate with Scots keen ( “lively, brisk, avaricious” ), Dutch koen ( “daring, valiant, doughty, courageous” ), German kühn ( “bold, daring, audacious, hardy, valiant, venturesome” ), Danish køn ( “handsome, pretty” ), Icelandic kænn ( “wise, crafty, clever, able” ). Related to Old English cunnan ( “to know how to, be able to” ). More at cunning, can .

    Alternative form

    • keene, kene ( archaic )

    Adjective

    keen ( comparative keener, superlative keenest )

    1. showing a quick and ardent willingness or responsiveness, enthusiastic, eager; interested, intense .
    2. vehement; fierce; as, a keen appetite.
    3. sharp; having a fine edge or point.
    4. acute of mind; sharp; penetrating; having or expressing mental acuteness.
    5. bitter; piercing; acrimonious; cutting; stinging; severe; as, keen satire or sarcasm.
    6. piercing; penetrating; cutting; sharp; -- applied to cold, wind, etc,; as, a keen wind; the cold is very keen.
    7. ( often with to, + infinitive or with a prepositional phrase ) Enthusiastic
      I'm keen to learn another language .
      I'm keen on learning another language .
      I'm keen on languages .
      I'm keen about learning languages .
      I'm keen for help .
      "Do you want to learn another language?" / "I'm keen."
    8. ( US, informal, dated ) Marvelous .
      I just got this peachy keen new dress .
    9. ( UK ) extremely low as to be competitive .
      keen prices
    10. ( obsolete ) brave, courageous; bold, audacious .
    Usage notes
    Synonyms
    The terms below need to be checked and allocated to the definitions ( senses ) of the headword above. Each term should appear in the sense for which it is appropriate. Use the template {{sense|"gloss"}}, substituting a short version of the definition for "gloss" .
    • prompt; eager; ardent; sharp; acute; cutting; penetrating; biting; severe; sarcastic; satirical; piercing; shrewd .
    • See also Wikisaurus:intelligent
    Derived terms

    Verb

    keen ( third-person singular simple present keens present participle keening, simple past and past participle keened )

    1. ( transitive, rare ) To sharpen; to make cold.

    Etymology 2

    From Irish caoin ( “keen, weep, cry” ) .

    Noun

    keen ( plural: keens )

    1. A prolonged wail for a deceased person .

    Verb

    keen ( third-person singular simple present keens present participle keening, simple past and past participle keened )

    1. ( intransitive ) To utter a keen.
      • ( Can we date this quote? ) Stuart Howard-Jones ( 1904-1974 ), Hibernia. Collected in The New Oxford Book of English Light Verse, 1978 .
        Keen—meaning 'brisk'? Nay, here the Language warps:
        'Tis singing bawdy Ballads to a Corpse .
    2. ( transitive ) To utter with a loud wailing voice or wordless cry.
    3. ( transitive ) To mourn.
    Related terms
    • keener

    Anagrams



Explanation of keen by Wordnet Dictionary

keen


    Verb
    1. express grief verbally

    Adjective
    1. having a sharp cutting edge or point

    2. a keen blade
    3. painful as if caused by a sharp instrument

    4. keen winds
    5. very good

    6. intense or sharp

    7. having or demonstrating ability to recognize or draw fine distinctions

    Noun
    1. a funeral lament sung with loud wailing



    Definition of keen by GCIDE Dictionary

    keen


    1. Keen ( kēn ), a. [Compar. Keener ( kēnẽr ); superl. Keenest.] [OE. kene sharp, bold, AS. cēne bold; akin to D. koen, OHG. kuoni, G. kühn, OSw. kyn, kön, Icel. kænn, for kœnn wise; perh. akin to E. ken, can to be able. √45.]
      1. Sharp; having a fine edge or point; as, “a keen razor, or a razor with a keen edge”.

      A bow he bare and arwes [arrows] bright and kene. Chaucer.

      That my keen knife see not the wound it makes. Shak.

      2. Acute of mind; sharp; penetrating; having or expressing mental acuteness; as, “a man of keen understanding; a keen look; keen features.”

      To make our wits more keen. Shak.

      Before the keen inquiry of her thought. Cowper.

      3. Bitter; piercing; acrimonious; cutting; stinging; severe; as, “keen satire or sarcasm”.

      Good father cardinal, cry thou amen

      To my keen curses. Shak.

      4. Piercing; penetrating; cutting; sharp; -- applied to cold, wind, etc.; as, “a keen wind; the cold is very keen.”

      Breasts the keen air, and carols as he goes. Goldsmith.

      5. Eager; vehement; fierce; as, “a keen appetite”. “Of full kene will.” Piers Plowman.

      So keen and greedy to confound a man. Shak.

      6. Wonderful; delightful; marvelous; as, “that would be keen”. [slang]

      ☞ Keen is often used in the composition of words, most of which are of obvious signification; as, keen-edged, keen-eyed, keen-sighted, keen-witted, etc.

      Syn. -- Prompt; eager; ardent; sharp; acute; cutting; penetrating; biting; severe; sarcastic; satirical; piercing; shrewd.

    2. Keen, v. t. To sharpen; to make cold. [R.]

      Cold winter keens the brightening flood. Thomson.

    3. Keen, n. [Ir. caoine.] A prolonged wail for a deceased person. Cf. Coranach. [Ireland] Froude.

    4. Keen, v. i. To wail as a keener does. [Ireland]