- IPA: /kiːn/
- Rhymes: -iːn
- Homophone: Keane, Keene
- keene, kene ( archaic )
- showing a quick and ardent willingness or responsiveness, enthusiastic, eager; interested, intense .
- vehement; fierce; as, a keen appetite.
- sharp; having a fine edge or point.
- acute of mind; sharp; penetrating; having or expressing mental acuteness.
- bitter; piercing; acrimonious; cutting; stinging; severe; as, keen satire or sarcasm.
- piercing; penetrating; cutting; sharp; -- applied to cold, wind, etc,; as, a keen wind; the cold is very keen.
- ( often with to, + infinitive or with a prepositional phrase ) Enthusiastic
- ( US, informal, dated ) Marvelous .
- ( UK ) extremely low as to be competitive .
- ( obsolete ) brave, courageous; bold, audacious .
- 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 .
- prompt; eager; ardent; sharp; acute; cutting; penetrating; biting; severe; sarcastic; satirical; piercing; shrewd .
- See also Wikisaurus:intelligent
- ( intransitive ) To utter a keen.
- ( transitive ) To utter with a loud wailing voice or wordless cry.
- ( transitive ) To mourn.
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 .
From Irish caoin ( “keen, weep, cry” ) .
Explanation of keen by Wordnet Dictionary
- a keen blade
- keen winds
- 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.
- Keen, v. t. To sharpen; to make cold. [R.]
Cold winter keens the brightening flood. Thomson.
- Keen, n. [Ir. caoine.] A prolonged wail for a deceased person. Cf. Coranach. [Ireland] Froude.
- Keen, v. i. To wail as a keener does. [Ireland]
Definition of keen by GCIDE Dictionary