Keen Keen (k[=e]n), a. [Compar. {Keener} (k[=e]n"[~e]r); superl. {Keenest}.] [OE. kene sharp, bold, AS. c[=e]ne bold; akin to D. koen, OHG. kuoni, G. k["u]hn, OSw. kyn, k["o]n, Icel. k[ae]nn, for k[oe]nn wise; perh. akin to E. ken, can to be able. [root]45.] 1. Sharp; having a fine edge or point; as, a keen razor, or a razor with a keen edge. [1913 Webster]

A bow he bare and arwes [arrows] bright and kene. --Chaucer. [1913 Webster]

That my keen knife see not the wound it makes. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

2. Acute of mind; sharp; penetrating; having or expressing mental acuteness; as, a man of keen understanding; a keen look; keen features. [1913 Webster]

To make our wits more keen. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

Before the keen inquiry of her thought. --Cowper. [1913 Webster]

3. Bitter; piercing; acrimonious; cutting; stinging; severe; as, keen satire or sarcasm. [1913 Webster]

Good father cardinal, cry thou amen To my keen curses. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

4. Piercing; penetrating; cutting; sharp; -- applied to cold, wind, etc.; as, a keen wind; the cold is very keen. [1913 Webster]

Breasts the keen air, and carols as he goes. --Goldsmith. [1913 Webster]

5. Eager; vehement; fierce; as, a keen appetite. ``Of full kene will.'' --Piers Plowman. [1913 Webster]

So keen and greedy to confound a man. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

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

Note: 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. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

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