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



    From Old English scearp, from Proto-Germanic *skarpaz ( cf. West Frisian skerp, Dutch scherp, German scharf ), from Proto-Indo-European *( s )kerb( h ) ( cf. Irish cearb 'keen; cutting', Latin acerbus 'tart, bitter', Tocharian B kärpye 'rough', Latvian skârbs 'sharp, rough', Russian shcherba 'notch', Albanian tharbët 'sour' ), from *( s )ker- 'to cut'. More at shear .


    • ( GenAm ) IPA: /ʃɑɹp/
    • ( RP ) IPA: /ʃɑːp/
    • Rhymes: -ɑː( r )p


    sharp ( comparative sharper, superlative sharpest )

    1. Able to cut easily .
      I keep my knives sharp so that they don't slip unexpectedly while carving .
    2. ( colloquial ) Intelligent .
      My nephew is a sharp lad; he can count to 100 in six languages, and he's only five years old .
    3. Able to pierce easily; pointed .
      Ernest made the pencil too sharp and accidentally stabbed himself with it .
    4. ( music ) Higher than usual by one semitone ( denoted by the symbolafter the name of the note ) .
    5. ( music ) Higher in pitch than required .
      The orchestra's third violin several times was sharp about an eighth of a tone .
    6. Having an intense, acrid flavour .
      Milly couldn't stand sharp cheeses when she was pregnant, because they made her nauseated .
    7. sudden and intense .
      A pregnant woman during labor normally experiences a number of sharp contractions .
    8. ( colloquial ) Illegal or dishonest .
      Michael had a number of sharp ventures that he kept off the books .
    9. Exact, precise, accurate; keen .
      You'll need sharp aim to make that shot .
    10. Offensive, critical, or acrimonious, as sharp criticism .
      When the two rivals met, first there were sharp words, and then a fight broke out .
    11. ( colloquial ) Stylish or attractive .
      You look so sharp in that tuxedo!
    12. Observant; alert; acute .
      Keep a sharp watch on the prisoners. I don't want them to escape!
    13. Forming a small angle; especially, forming an angle of less than ninety degrees .
      Drive down Main for three quarters of a mile, then make a sharp right turn onto Pine .
    14. ( mathematics, of a statement ) Said of as extreme a value as possible .
      Sure, any planar graph can be five-colored. But that result is not sharp: in fact, any planar graph can be four-colored. That is sharp: the same can't be said for any lower number .



    Derived terms


    sharp ( comparative sharper, superlative sharpest )

    1. ( no comparative or superlative ) Exactly .
      I'll see you at twelve o'clock sharp .
    2. ( music ) In a higher pitch than is correct or desirable .
      I didn't enjoy the concert much because the tenor kept going sharp on the high notes .



    sharp ( plural: sharps )

    1. ( music ) The symbol ♯, placed after the name of a note in the key signature or before a note on the staff to indicate that the note is to be played a semitone higher .
      The pitch pipe sounded out a perfect F♯ ( F sharp ) .
      Transposition frequently is harder to read because of all the sharps and flats on the staff .
    2. ( music ) A note that is played a semitone higher than usual; denoted by the name of the note that is followed by the symbol ♯ .
    3. ( music ) A note that is sharp in a particular key .
      The piece was difficult to read after it had been transposed, since in the new key many notes were sharps .
    4. ( music ) The scale having a particular sharp note as its tonic .
      Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" is written in C♯ minor ( C sharp minor. )
    5. ( usually in the plural: ) Something which is sharp .
      Place sharps in the specially marked red container for safe disposal .
    6. ( medicine ) A hypodermic syringe .
    7. ( medicine, dated ) A scalpel or other edged instrument used in surgery .
    8. A dishonest person; a cheater .
      The casino kept in the break room a set of pictures of known sharps for the bouncers to see .

    Derived terms

    See also


    sharp ( third-person singular simple present sharps present participle sharping, simple past and past participle sharped )

    1. ( music ) To raise the pitch of a note half a step making a natural note a sharp .
      That new musician must be tone deaf: he sharped half the notes of the song!
    2. To play tricks in bargaining; to act the sharper .
      ( Can we find and add a quotation of L'Estrange to this entry? )


    • harps

Explanation of sharp by Wordnet Dictionary


    1. changing suddenly in direction and degree

    2. the road twists sharply after the light
      turn sharp left here
    1. marked by practical hardheaded intelligence

    2. ( of something seen or heard ) clearly defined

    3. a sharp photographic image
      the sharp crack of a twig
    4. having or made by a thin edge or sharp point

    5. a sharp knife
      a pencil with a sharp point
    6. keenly and painfully felt

    7. a sharp pain
      sharp winds
    8. quick and forceful

    9. a sharp blow
    10. very sudden and in great amount or degree

    11. a sharp drop in the stock market
    12. extremely steep

    13. a sharp drop
    14. having or emitting a high-pitched and sharp tone or tones

    15. ( of a musical note ) raised in pitch by one chromatic semitone

    16. C sharp
    17. having or demonstrating ability to recognize or draw fine distinctions

    18. as sharp and incisive as the stroke of a fang
    19. harsh

    20. sharp criticism
      a sharp-worded exchange
    21. ending in a sharp point

    1. a long thin sewing needle with a sharp point

    2. a musical notation indicating one half step higher than the note named

    Definition of sharp by GCIDE Dictionary


    1. Sharp a. [Compar. Sharper ; superl. Sharpest.] [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.]
      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. ) High in pitch; acute; as, “a sharp note or tone”. Raised a semitone in pitch; as, “C sharp ( C♯ ), which is a half step, or semitone, higher than 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; piercing; 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.

      Sharp practice, the getting of an advantage, or the attempt to do so, by a tricky expedient. -- To brace sharp, or To sharp up ( Naut. ), to turn the yards to the most oblique position possible, that the ship may lie well up to the wind.

      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.

    2. Sharp adv.
      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.]

      Look sharp, attend; be alert. [Colloq.]

    3. Sharp, n.
      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. ) The character [♯] used to indicate that the note before which it is placed is to be raised a half step, or semitone, in pitch. 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]

    4. Sharp, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Sharped ; p. pr. & vb. n. 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.

    5. Sharp, v. i.
      1. To play tricks in bargaining; to act the sharper. L'Estrange.

      2. ( Mus. ) To sing above the proper pitch.