Definition of sharp in English:

sharp

adjective

  • 1(of an object) having an edge or point that is able to cut or pierce something.

    ‘cut the cake with a very sharp knife’
    ‘keep tools sharp’
    • ‘Upon his mighty paws, which resembled large, furry, human hands, were claws sharp as razors and unbreakable as the most finally crafted swords.’
    • ‘The bottom of the actuating rod has a sharp point, which pierces the gas cylinder release valve.’
    • ‘Use sharp tools no matter what type of plant you're pruning.’
    • ‘Use sharp shears, and make each cut just beyond a side branch and just outside the branch bark ridges; don't leave stubs.’
    • ‘She cried out in pain; it felt like sharp knives were piercing her.’
    • ‘As soon as she touched it, she felt a sharp splinter pierce her thumb.’
    • ‘He gave her a sickening smile and then his lips drew back to reveal his long sharp glistening fangs.’
    • ‘The sharp, tapered tip is used to pierce and thread smaller cuts without damaging its appearance.’
    • ‘We smiled at them and each other as sharp bits of jeep pierced our civilization-softened bodies.’
    • ‘Looking around, she found a sharp strong piece of wood.’
    • ‘She fell on to her side, not caring about the sharp rocks piercing her thin side.’
    • ‘Their sharp weapons had pierced his sweet heart, and he had fallen at her side.’
    • ‘Craftsmen use a stainless steel knife, with a sharp edge and triangular blade, to cut rough shapes in the coir.’
    • ‘Four sharp claws protruded from the creature's feet as well.’
    • ‘Her fingernails grew long and sharp, able to pierce the skin of a creature in a matter of seconds.’
    • ‘A stone is used for ‘honing’ which means putting a sharp edge on your knife.’
    • ‘Use sharp scissors to limit fabric movement when cutting.’
    • ‘There was nothing in the teepee sharp enough to use as a cutting tool.’
    • ‘Right from the start it seemed as if Harris' entire political staff were hunting through the legislative library armed only with red pencils and sharp scissors.’
    • ‘Five sharp, bendable claws protruded from each of the hands and feet.’
    keen, sharp-edged, razor-sharp, razor-edged
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Tapering to a point or edge.
      ‘a sharp pencil’
      ‘her face was thin and her nose sharp’
      • ‘The unguals are curved and taper to a sharp point, indicating that the digits terminated in distinct claws.’
      • ‘Jen grinned and she tapped her sharp pencil on the piece of paper.’
      • ‘These spicules are up to 0.03 mm in diameter and taper to sharp tips.’
      • ‘Then, with a felt-tipped pen or sharp pencil, mark the lag screw holes that were drilled in the ledger on the wail.’
      • ‘The long robe drapes over the front of the throne, falling in pleats that taper to sharp points along the hem.’
      • ‘They must have used a very sharp pencil to draw that one up.’
      • ‘He had a tattoo across his lower back; it said ‘Shooter’ in sharp, pointy black letters.’
      • ‘Despite picking the widest route, the travellers found their clothes being snagged on sharp twigs, and they grazed their knees on passing tree trunks more than once.’
      • ‘She believed that she got the lead poisoning when a sharp pencil was poked into her cheek.’
      • ‘I took out a sharp pencil and began to fill in the grades.’
      • ‘And then she took a sharp pencil and began making light, very fine lines.’
      • ‘If you want to succeed in finance, you need a sharp mind - and a sharp pencil.’
      • ‘Is the form of his nose sharp, melancholy, or refined?’
      pointed, tapering, tapered, needle-like, spiky
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 (of sand or gravel) composed of angular grains.
      • ‘Or you may set your plant in sharp sand, and mix some lime with the soil which you replace.’
      • ‘He had insisted on best quality sharp sand, but even then it was a lot of money to pay.’
      • ‘The seventh platform was covered in loose and sharp gravel.’
      • ‘This time it was six bags of sharp sand delivered by Mr Thin.’
      • ‘The principle consists simply of a smooth flat blade of soft iron, set in a frame and fed with sharp sand and water.’
      • ‘Take pencil-thick cuttings, about nine inches long, and plunge them outside to a depth of six inches in a trench lined with sharp sand.’
      • ‘Dig a trench with one straight side and put a mix of sharp sand and compost in the bottom to aid drainage, making the trench deep enough to allow two thirds of the cutting to be buried.’
      • ‘The farm deals in soft and sharp sand and gravel.’
      • ‘Sprinkle fine, sharp gravel around each bulb to discourage voles.’
      • ‘Top dress with sharp sand to improve the drainage.’
      • ‘To improve drainage without sacrificing nutrients, add sharp sand or perlite to a good sterilized compost-based mix.’
      • ‘Add a little sharp sand to improve drainage if your soil tends to hold water.’
      • ‘Start by adding plenty of sharp sand to your rosemary bed.’
      • ‘This may be mixed with sharp sand, which will encourage the finer grasses.’
      • ‘To discourage voles or gophers, add a handful of sharp gravel to the planting hole or plant bulbs in wire or fabric baskets.’
      • ‘The crushing also produced a sharp sand with angular grains that made it far preferable as a bonding agent in mortar.’
      • ‘The material used is a mixture of cement, sharp sand and crushed rock or pebbles.’
      • ‘Or remove the concrete and lay old bricks on a mixture of sharp sand and earth.’
      • ‘I do, however, always add 25% sharp grit to all the composts to help with drainage and pot stability.’
      • ‘Dig a v-shaped trench with a sloping side and a straight side and line it with sharp sand to help with drainage.’
  • 2Producing a sudden, piercing physical sensation or effect.

    ‘I suddenly felt a sharp pain in my back’
    • ‘He suddenly felt a sharp pain in the side of his head.’
    • ‘He poured her some unknown liquid and she drank it immediately - the sharp sensation of alcohol sent a pleasant burn down her throat.’
    • ‘All of a sudden, I felt a sharp pain in my back, as if I had fallen on a hot needle.’
    • ‘I gingerly moved to sit up, but a sharp pain shot through my body.’
    • ‘Suddenly a sharp jolt of pain rang through my entire system as I opened my eyes.’
    • ‘I glowered at him, feeling the sharp sensation at having made contact with his cheek so firmly.’
    • ‘A sharp piercing pain struck right through her stomach and, like a deadly plague, spread out through her body.’
    • ‘These involuntary contractions can be either dull or sharp and intense.’
    • ‘A sudden, sharp pain in his side prompted him to double over.’
    • ‘If you have osteoporosis, the first warning sign might be a sudden sharp pain in your back that seems to have come on for no reason.’
    • ‘OK, it was the same type of shock, just a sharp shock, a sensation that went up my arm to the elbow.’
    • ‘To top it all a niggling pain gave off a sharp, burning sensation in the bottom of her stomach.’
    • ‘He slowly got up and breathed in the new day, filled with anticipation for this afternoon, but all of a sudden was struck with a sharp pain in his chest.’
    • ‘Seek immediate medical attention if you experience a sudden, sharp pain in the upper left side of your abdomen.’
    • ‘It's often accompanied by abdominal pain - either mild and dull or sharp and intense.’
    • ‘A sharp and sudden pain in his left shoulder made him drop the man.’
    • ‘Call the doctor right away if your child has sudden, sharp stomach pain that will not go away.’
    • ‘She also experienced a sharp pain and burning sensation in her right elbow and a tingling sensation in her right hand and fingers.’
    • ‘There were sharp pains, and sudden dizziness, and then profuse bleedings at the pores, with dissolution.’
    • ‘I suddenly felt a sharp pang of pain thrust through my stomach.’
    excruciating, agonizing, intense, violent, piercing, stabbing, shooting, stinging, severe, acute, keen, fierce, searing
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 (of a food, taste, or smell) acidic and intense.
      ‘fresh goats' milk cheese has a slightly sharper flavour than fromage frais’
      • ‘These materials both have a sharp smell, tangy taste, and are irritating to skin in large concentrations.’
      • ‘It had the sharp taste lemon tart should have but was not easy to cut on a saucer!’
      • ‘Maybe you dream of me - the sharp taste of my tears, scent of my hair.’
      • ‘The sharp smell of medication and antiseptic replaced the cigarette and coffee smell of this small room.’
      • ‘For a medium flavor, six months is required, while a sharp taste takes even longer.’
      • ‘The original recipe suggests gruyère cheese, but I don't like that much and opted for a sharp English cheddar instead.’
      • ‘She could sense his disbelief and excitement at her suggestions, mingling with the smell of his blood, adding a sharp tang much like a spice on food.’
      • ‘She felt her determination melt away as the doctor swabbed her wrist with the disinfectant, the sharp smell tickling her nose.’
      • ‘It smells like a lime, and has a very sharp taste.’
      • ‘Her right ankle throbbed steadily and the smell of sharp herbs was coming from somewhere close.’
      • ‘The sharp taste of salt and alkaline was tangy on my lips.’
      • ‘Sansho is used in Japanese cooking to add a sharp note to fatty foods, eels for example.’
      • ‘It's a very strong and sharp cheese, and it has tiny holes in it.’
      • ‘It gave off an unfamiliar sharp smell, and all the adults around me crunched into each stalk with gusto.’
      • ‘Sitting there silently for a while I took in the view of the ocean, and the salt air that carried with it the sharp smell of cut grass.’
      • ‘I often go to goat farms in the area to select the deliciously sour and sharp cheese in all its different varieties.’
      • ‘Then she smelt the sharp tang of sulphur again and turned back.’
      • ‘The sweetness of the raisins and ricotta balanced the otherwise sharp taste of the chard, and the pinenuts offered a nice textural change.’
      • ‘I walk out and am immediately assaulted by a sharp smell in the air.’
      • ‘All of these Asian greens are tender and succulent, but flavors vary from mild and clean to sharp and peppery.’
      tangy, piquant, strong
      acrid, burning, pungent
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2 (of a sound) sudden and penetrating.
      ‘there was a sharp crack of thunder’
      • ‘The wolf gave a sharp bark and motioned towards the exit.’
      • ‘The sharp sound was so sudden that the horses nearest to him jumped and wouldn't settle down for at least five minutes.’
      • ‘All in all, not much got done until Mikhail's aunt Meredith came in and silenced them all with a sharp whistle.’
      • ‘A short, sharp bark of command and they were gone.’
      • ‘She had just rolled over and began to dream of something else when she heard the sharp sound of breaking glass.’
      • ‘The loud, sharp noise of the door closing confirmed that.’
      • ‘The sharp sound of boot heels came from far away, approaching their barracks like some grim reaper, come to harvest their humiliation.’
      • ‘When sharp sirens pierced rent the night air, the two thugs scrambled to standing positions and then ran off, disappearing into the night.’
      • ‘The pup stopped in front of him, and gave a sharp bark.’
      • ‘There was a crack of sharp thunder as the bullets plunged from their silver caves, and a shower of shells fell to the ground simultaneously.’
      • ‘As copious steam clouds and sharp hoots pierce the morning calm, an air of excitement and expectation is palpable among those who have got into the coaches.’
      • ‘A sharp click sounded in her ears, but she was too busy to notice.’
      • ‘There was a sharp clatter when Mrs. Jones banged the pan with her spatula as she whipped around to face them.’
      • ‘At times, sharp clicks and bubbles of noise will suddenly bulge to the top before disappearing back into the fray.’
      • ‘He heard the sharp bark of a dog moments before the bang of pistol fire.’
      • ‘Eventually, there was a sharp whistle and the boys looked around at the whistler.’
      • ‘When Debbie entered the tiny white room, the sharp click of her too-high heels shattered the almost-silence.’
      • ‘The sharp clang of metal on metal echoed throughout the arena.’
      • ‘A sharp whistle from the house brought the men up short.’
      • ‘The gun itself barely moves, and the sharp sound of the report echoes through surrounding hills and dies away.’
      loud, piercing, shrill, high-pitched, high, penetrating, harsh, strident
      View synonyms
    3. 2.3 (of words or a speaker) critical or hurtful.
      ‘she feared his sharp tongue’
      ‘he could be very sharp with her’
      • ‘Fervently, she shook her head at each accusation he made, holding her hands over her ears in hope of blocking out such hurtful and sharp words.’
      • ‘I'd left then, biting back my sharp words about how he could probably have afforded a proper grave for her if he didn't spend so much money in the tavern.’
      • ‘Another is to replace the sharp words with words of encouragement or at least something neutral.’
      • ‘The organisers of the event came in for sharp words by the eager fans.’
      • ‘It might take a little persuasion and there might be a few sharp words exchanged but that was usually the height of it.’
      • ‘I could still hear his sharp words: Why didn't he protect himself?’
      • ‘Yesterday, I exchanged sharp words with an old friend online.’
      • ‘Desiree bit her tongue, for she felt like showering the mysterious knight with sharp words.’
      • ‘But then he remembered that he'd blown that all away with a few sharp words.’
      • ‘Her words were sharp and I felt them cut into each piece of my shattered heart.’
      • ‘She said a few sharp words, which the boy returned with a fallen face.’
      • ‘Her words were sharp and hurtful and more than anything he knew now that he had been wrong to think she had some decency in her to start with.’
      • ‘Mordechai spoke his sharp words not to her, but to posterity.’
      • ‘Seemingly confident just a few weeks ago, she is now prone to utter sharp words about her critics in public.’
      • ‘I've never known a holiday to be spoiled, or even darkened, by an argument, by tensions that crackle and erupt in sharp words.’
      • ‘She felt out of place and in danger, but told herself that she was a lady of the court and with her sharp words and authority, she could defend herself.’
      • ‘Nearly all of them contain sharp words for the president.’
      • ‘She was still concerned about the exchange of sharp words between the men.’
      • ‘Then he stalked off the field after a sharp word from the coach.’
      • ‘An elderly, well-dressed lady spoke in sharp tones to the pair, both of whom looked towards me and became silent.’
      harsh, bitter, hard, cutting, scathing, caustic, biting, barbed, trenchant, mordant, acrimonious, acerbic, tart, acid, sarcastic, sardonic, ill-tempered, spiteful, venomous, malicious, vitriolic, vicious, hurtful, nasty, unkind, severe, cruel, wounding, abusive
      View synonyms
    4. 2.4 (of an emotion or experience) felt acutely or intensely; painful.
      ‘her sharp disappointment was tinged with embarrassment’
      • ‘The disappointments are sharp, but the possibilities are endless.’
      • ‘My feelings of disappointment were sharp, but soon the intifada was over.’
      • ‘They remember the sharp fear of unwanted pregnancies.’
      • ‘I felt a sharp hope rising in me and I quelled it immediately.’
      • ‘Sometimes the cooks got confused and served it two weeks in a row, which was a sharp disappointment.’
      • ‘There's a short, sharp thrill about it, and we only have a band on for half an hour, so it doesn't take up a large chunk of the night if people don't like it.’
      • ‘As her mind unravels we experience sudden images of sharp terror.’
      • ‘She got out of the shower lazily, and had a sharp feeling in her stomach that something would happen today.’
      intense, acute, keen, strong, bitter, fierce, searing, piercing, heartfelt, very great, overpowering
      View synonyms
  • 3Distinct in outline or detail; clearly defined.

    ‘the job was a sharp contrast from her past life’
    ‘the scene was as sharp and clear in his mind as a film’
    • ‘Despite their pervasiveness, lanning clearly shows that such sharp distinctions cannot be maintained.’
    • ‘He doesn't bother getting involved in details - he lays out a sharp contrast.’
    • ‘But - in sharp contrast - Reuters has stuck to a distinctive approach for decades.’
    • ‘The image is sharp and well defined without any imperfections.’
    • ‘Clearly a sharp distinction must be drawn between means of production ordinarily conceived, and entrepreneurship.’
    • ‘Birth to three months - newborn babies can't see particularly well, but they do like to look at faces and distinct patterns with sharp outlines.’
    • ‘It's a great feeling to define in sharp crisp outlines what you believe in, and what you stand against.’
    • ‘The image is black-and-white with strong contrast and sharp detail.’
    • ‘If you want only the subject sharp, use a wide aperture.’
    • ‘The colors all appear clearly defined and sharp while the black levels are solid and well saturated.’
    • ‘At about noon, the city loomed before, the big black stone walls making a sharp contrast against the clear blue of the sky.’
    • ‘It is for the most part a very good transfer, with sharp contrasts and excellent details.’
    • ‘The black-and-white image is stable with beautiful contrast and sharp detail.’
    • ‘In contrast, there are in Chile very sharp accent distinctions among the different social classes.’
    • ‘The sharp detail and good contrast control offer a good look at the few interesting things that happen in the mostly darkened production.’
    • ‘Detail is sharp and clear, contrast is nicely managed, and deep black levels make this pleasing to behold - visually.’
    • ‘The picture is so sharp you cannot see any individual pixels.’
    • ‘This is a recent production, and as such, the colors are well balanced and the picture sharp.’
    • ‘These sharp, panoramic, full-color pictures provided fodder for a third Nature report.’
    • ‘Fully depress the button and the camera will have recorded the sharp shot of the couple you wanted.’
    distinct, clear-cut, clear, well defined, well focused, crisp
    View synonyms
  • 4(of an action or change) sudden and marked.

    ‘there was a sharp increase in interest rates’
    ‘he heard her sharp intake of breath’
    • ‘Back in the 1980s the figure was believed to be in the region of €4 billion during the sharp economic slowdown.’
    • ‘Monday's sharp stock market plunge and uncertain world events may have you longing for a secure place to stash your savings.’
    • ‘By a ‘currency crisis’ he means a sharp change in the value of the US dollar that would hurt the economy as a whole.’
    • ‘It notes the sharp decline in voter participation - but also the increased politicisation that is taking place in society.’
    • ‘So when the 1980s came along, there is a sharp decline in commodity prices and a sharp increase in real interest rates.’
    • ‘The traditional short-covering by speculators that usually followed a sharp downward movement was no longer present to instill some recovery.’
    • ‘Girls' education has particularly suffered, and the UN has noted a sharp decline in female literacy.’
    • ‘I have been away for three years and was struck by the sharp change in tone and perceptions.’
    • ‘In the short term, it must also be noted that the sharp reduction in air travel in the US is going to benefit inventories which were already exceptionally high.’
    • ‘According to their calculations, neither global sea level rise nor faster melting of glacial ice could have produced such a sharp change.’
    • ‘Those sharp dips mainly reflected the pace of technological progress and faster productivity growth.’
    • ‘Human maturation is a gradual process, a continuum rather than a sharp change.’
    • ‘The decline was due to weaker current business conditions which reversed a sharp increase in July.’
    • ‘But plans for the repairs and redevelopment work have been put on a slow burner by the government as a result of the sharp economic downturn.’
    • ‘The capital encountered severe drought this year due to a sharp decrease in rainfall.’
    • ‘Exports have been hit also because of the sudden and sharp increase in the value of the euro against the dollar and, most importantly, against sterling.’
    • ‘Such a return, given low interest rates, contributed to a sharp increase in his deferred savings in recent years.’
    • ‘Individual chronologies were used to study the frequencies of sharp increases and decreases in growth.’
    • ‘The plunge in profits and sudden sharp increase in the burden of debt are, of course, leading symptoms of a depression.’
    • ‘Thus, after an expansion has been in progress for some time, an event that is not of unusual size or duration can trigger a sharp financial reaction.’
    sudden, abrupt, rapid
    View synonyms
    1. 4.1 (of a bend, angle, or turn) making a sudden change of direction.
      ‘the bus creaked round a sharp hairpin bend’
      • ‘The culminating crisis resolves itself as a muddle-through, a bend rather than a sharp turn in the road.’
      • ‘With no avail, she took a sharp turn, and bolted in the other direction.’
      • ‘He lay sprawled on the tiles, his arms and legs bent at sharp angles.’
      • ‘A smooth, curved bedline is much easier to mow around than one with a lot of sharp angles and corners.’
      • ‘Yesterday in our morning walk we turned a sharp bend in the road and walked into a cloud of fledgling barn swallows and their proud parents.’
      • ‘He talked smoothly while doing sharp turns round the corners.’
      • ‘As he made sharp turns around corners, he couldn't help but wonder why the guy was chasing him over an apple.’
      • ‘Now was time to use my new toy, the strip heater, since I needed a nice straight line bent at a sharp angle.’
      • ‘They would travel in one direction for a while before curving back in a very sharp turn to another direction.’
      • ‘One of his gossamer wings had been snapped off and the other was bent at a sharp angle, the many broken nerves causing it to twitch feebly.’
      • ‘Indianapolis, of course, has the long straightaways, and sharp turns.’
      • ‘Turning a very sharp bend of what seemed like a U-turn, I only caught a passing glimpse of it.’
      • ‘There are straight stretches and sharp bends and that is why there are so many fatalities on that road.’
      • ‘A sudden sharp turn made Tony lose his balance and hit the side of the van.’
      • ‘So I turned the car around, went back on myself to before the sharp bend and then turned the car round again so I was facing the way of my original direction before I saw the lights.’
      • ‘The family in the other car were arriving for lunch just as we were leaving, and it was a stroke of extraordinary bad luck that we should have met on a sharp bend, the only one in an otherwise straight road.’
      • ‘They would travel in one direction for a while and then curve back in a very sharp turn in another direction.’
      • ‘I had completed the sharp bend and it appeared before me, that barely visible path I was to take.’
      • ‘Every few yards the hall took a sharp turn and branched off in so many directions that it was impossible to know where you were.’
      • ‘Images of dissected tendon taken under the light microscope show that fibrils can sustain sharp bends or kinks along their length.’
      hairpin, tight, angular
      View synonyms
  • 5Having or showing speed of perception, comprehension, or response.

    ‘her sharp eyes missed nothing’
    ‘his old mind was not so sharp as it once was’
    • ‘She keeps her stand-up sharp by hitting the Provincetown comedy circuit every summer.’
    • ‘But everyone else was also entering into dangerous enemy territory, so Cat and her comrades had to stay sharp or else get left behind.’
    • ‘Jen seems intent on keeping her mind sharp; every night, after practice, she takes out the books from her locker and works on some maths or suchlike.’
    • ‘Nutrients fight diseases of the heart, help prevent cancer and even keep the brain sharp.’
    • ‘I've never worked with someone who is so perceptive, sharp and wise.’
    • ‘I like to do logic problems to keep my mind sharp.’
    • ‘He misses little, his sharp eyes sweeping up and down whatever street or room he enters, taking everything in.’
    • ‘Rigel is looking ominously sharp now and his speed around the court is making it difficult for me to find a winner.’
    • ‘He couldn't see, true, but they didn't know about how sharp his hearing was.’
    • ‘No matter how sharp you are at 70 or 80 years old, there is a slowing down.’
    • ‘For his self-awareness is acute and his sense of humour is sharp.’
    • ‘With his peroxide head bowed, eyes closed, the old man feels his way forward, bandy legs shuffling, shoulders stooped, senses bat sharp, as keen as razor wire.’
    • ‘It transcends its soap-opera instincts thanks to the bright humour and sharp observations of the script.’
    • ‘Pick it up, flip through it, dip into the story at any point and you will come away better informed and surprisingly entertained by his sharp mind and punk sense of humour.’
    • ‘Quick intervention begins with keen sensitivity and sharp observation.’
    • ‘He had to keep his mind sharp to focus on the problem at hand.’
    • ‘Competition is a good excuse to get your guns working and keep your eye sharp.’
    • ‘If you have the right background and are sharp, witty and perceptive, we would like to hear from you.’
    • ‘He is renowned as a canny strategist and has a sharp economic mind, but his dictatorial approach and suppression of human rights worries many.’
    • ‘It's probably good to keep some of the nonverbal aspects of my mind sharp.’
    keen, perceptive, observant, acute, sharp-sighted, beady, hawklike
    perceptive, discerning, percipient, perspicacious, penetrative, piercing, penetrating, discriminating, sensitive, incisive, keen, keen-witted, acute, sharp-witted, quick, quick-witted, clever, shrewd, astute, intelligent, intuitive, bright, agile, nimble, nimble-witted, alert, quick off the mark, ready, apt, fine, finely honed, rapier-like, probing, searching, insightful, knowing
    View synonyms
    1. 5.1 Quick to take advantage, especially in an unscrupulous or dishonest way.
      ‘Paul's a sharp operator’
      • ‘It's one thing if analysts are deceived by sharp operators.’
      • ‘As for O'Neill, he left with his reputation as a quick-witted sharp operator severely dented.’
      • ‘In reality, it was ordinary citizens and not the sharp operators who stored their wealth in banknotes.’
      clever, shrewd, canny, smart
      View synonyms
  • 6(of musical sound) above true or normal pitch.

    • ‘Apart from a tendency of the clarinet to go a tad sharp at times this was a most enjoyable performance.’
    • ‘When the tip of her first finger touched it, a sharp note sang through her ears.’
    • ‘The entire musical burden is shifted to the massive chorus, while fierce sharp chords pronounce the onset of the bloody wounds.’
    • ‘The Quail's voice also gave rise to a number of imitative names in Britain and Ireland, which incorporate the three sharp notes.’
    • ‘The sound of the clarinet, in contrast, is depicted by a sound wave that looks like the crenellations on a castle, which leads to its more closed sound, compared to the sharp note of the violin.’
    • ‘They can quote a flat or a sharp note from a singer in any number of recordings, give you the date and place of the recording, and they collect them all.’
    • ‘I took out the tuner, and began tuning it just a smidge sharp, because I like the sound of it better that way.’
    • ‘Rebecca knew it was really cold when Jimmy took a full ten minutes to warm up from slightly flat to his usual, obnoxiously sharp pitch.’
    • ‘A note has the same name, whether it is sharp, flat or natural.’
    • ‘In ‘musette tuning’ two reeds sound simultaneously for each note, one tuned slightly sharp, giving a tremolo effect.’
    1. 6.1postpositive (of a note) a semitone higher than a specified note.
      ‘F sharp’
      • ‘I wrote a few brass pieces, and my magnum opus, an orchestral epic called Life in C sharp, which displayed minimalist influences - lots of C sharps.’
      • ‘Also, there are many ways of producing an F sharp on a cello.’
      • ‘His annotations to this CD proudly point out the Cs, C sharps, and Ds that he must sing.’
      • ‘The F sharp Nocturne comes to life in a remarkable manner whilst the C sharp minor Etude also creates a palpable sense of mystery.’
    2. 6.2 (of a key) having a sharp or sharps in the signature.
      • ‘The standard treble is available in B, sounding a tone below written pitch and best for flat keys, or in A, sounding a minor 3rd lower and better for sharp keys.’
  • 7informal (of clothes or their wearer) smart and stylish.

    ‘they were greeted by a young man in a sharp suit’
    • ‘Then it was back into his sharp street clothes, to wait for a friend to pick him up to go cruising their territories.’
    • ‘Even he looked quite winsome in sharp, dark clothes and a cape behind him.’
    • ‘The result is a translation of ordinarily masculine clothing into sharp womenswear that's feminine and sexy without flashing flesh.’
    • ‘The prospect of anti-capitalist mobilisations pushed the Swiss bankers to abandon sharp suits and dress down.’
    • ‘He may not have had his eyes, but he looked great, he was sharp, he was smart and women were attracted to him.’
    • ‘Expect sharp suits, chic outfits and a style more modern than what we've come to expect from some pop divas.’
    • ‘I recently bought a really sharp suit at the Men's Warehouse here in Philly.’
    • ‘So, would you prefer the plane you're sitting in to be flown by an algorithm or by a couple of really smart pilots in sharp uniforms?’
    • ‘When you hear the word secretary, you probably think of a pretty, petite lady who wears stylish, sharp skirt outfits.’
    • ‘He is dapper in blazer, cane, sharp hat and regimental tie, which he wears with a tie clip.’
    • ‘It can be worn on a night out on the town and can add a sharp touch to any outfit.’
    • ‘I was so sharp in these new stylish clothes, I could cut butter, or at least turn heads.’
    • ‘Complete your look with sharp looking dressy shoes.’
    • ‘Scuzzily-dressed blokes will up a gear and start attiring themselves competitively with funky shirts, sharp trousers and bobby dazzlers.’
    • ‘Before him stood a clean, young man dressed in a sharp business suit.’
    • ‘After all, he was wearing sharp clothes and seemed to be giving out the orders.’
    • ‘He will be dressed in a sharp dinner suit, with his bow tie undone, looking suave and handsome as if he had stepped out of GQ Magazine.’
    • ‘In the fall, a flat loafer, heavy tights, and a nice pair of trousers is a sharp look.’
    • ‘I just wore sharp clothes, and whenever anyone asked who was I supposed to be, I told them and smiled.’
    • ‘Extreme heat, a lot of sweat and a dirty working environment have surely scared away many youths, who dream of working in a sharp suit in a cool office.’
    smart, stylish, fashionable, chic, modish, elegant, spruce
    View synonyms

adverb

  • 1Precisely (used after an expression of time)

    ‘the meeting starts at 7.30 sharp’
    • ‘All he told me was that he would come and get me by 3: 00 PM sharp the next day.’
    • ‘All players are asked to be at the pitch at 7p.m. sharp.’
    • ‘The school was a day school as well as a boarding school, so after five, the day pupils were allowed to return home for the night, but they must be back in school by nine sharp the next morning.’
    • ‘At 8 p.m. sharp the Fashion Show commenced.’
    • ‘Not exactly the 8am sharp time they had indicated in the memo.’
    • ‘Miraculously we were ready to leave at seven o'clock sharp each day.’
    • ‘The parade will come through the town at 3pm sharp with the floats gathering in ARCH at 2pm.’
    • ‘Tuesday morning, 8 sharp I was back at the hospital.’
    • ‘The next meeting takes place on Wednesday, May 14, at 8pm sharp and will be the annual general meeting.’
    precisely, exactly, on the dot
    View synonyms
  • 2In a sudden or abrupt way.

    ‘turn sharp right at the corner’
    ‘he was brought up sharp by Helen's voice’
    • ‘On anything other than a smooth track it would suddenly turn sharp left for no reason.’
    abruptly, suddenly, sharply, all of a sudden, unexpectedly, without warning
    View synonyms
  • 3Above the true or normal pitch of musical sound.

    ‘he heard him playing a little sharp on the high notes’

noun

  • 1A musical note raised a semitone above natural pitch.

    • ‘By remembering a simple pattern one can determine the amount of sharps and flats in a major chord.’
    • ‘For example, ‘Within the circle of fifths, if the key of G has one sharp, how many sharps are there in the key of D?’’
    • ‘But one day I asked Kathryn how many sharps E major had.’
    • ‘Starting on C major, they ascend in pitch utilizing the key signatures that employ no more than four sharps or flats.’
    • ‘Pitch class is the name of a tone, such as A, B, C, etc., including sharps (#) and flats (b).’
    • ‘Ex. 4 shows an octave of the chromatic scale beginning on C, notated in sharps ascending and flats descending.’
    • ‘The student begins to understand the origins of key and tonality, rather than memorizing the order of flats and sharps.’
    • ‘In this example, the given notated key is two sharps.’
    • ‘The nineteenth century added some mechanics to the beast to allow it some ability to play sharps and flats and to modulate, but it's still not a chromatic instrument, and since at least Wagner, music sings mainly chromatically.’
    • ‘The important thing isn't anything to do with the sharps and flats, or the tricky counting.’
    • ‘The chromatic scale includes five additional notes - the sharps and flats (black keys of a piano).’
    • ‘His scale organizes the notes into octaves, with sharps and flats in between.’
    • ‘Choices in successive levels expand to all notes, then sharps and flats.’
    1. 1.1 The sign ♯, indicating a sharp.
      • ‘When you count up five letters in the alphabet, you must place a sharp or a fiat, depending on where you are in the circle.’
      • ‘The smart little thing knows how to whistle the closing melody of one of my piano concerti, though he's added a sharp on the G.’
      • ‘Chong goes so far as to indicate fingering with Arabic numbers; flats and sharps are marked by downward and upward arrows, respectively.’
      • ‘For keys with sharps, look at the last sharp in the series of sharps, and say the catch phrase ‘little step up, big step down.’’
  • 2A long, sharply pointed needle used for general sewing.

    1. 2.1usually sharps A thing with a sharp edge, such as a blade or a fragment of glass.
      ‘the safe disposal of sharps and clinical waste’
      • ‘Before closing the skin incisions, perioperative team members count all sponges, sharps, and instruments and report correct counts to the surgeon.’
      • ‘Never put needles or other sharps into clinical or household waste bags.’
      • ‘Three competency tools - paper, videotape, and CD-ROM - were created for safe techniques in the use of sharps for the scrub role.’
      • ‘Almost all laboratories must handle and dispose of sharps and blood and urine samples.’
      • ‘Needles and sharps should be counted audibly and concurrently by the scrub person and circulating nurse at the beginning of the procedure, as items are added to the field, and at the end of the procedure per the facility's policy.’
      • ‘Counting sponges, sharps, and instruments with the circulating nurse is the scrub person's responsibility.’
      • ‘These safety shields will reduce the risk of accidental exposure of healthcare workers to infectious agents through contaminated sharps in the workplace.’
      • ‘The exposure control plan shall also contain input from non-managerial employees responsible for direct patient care who are potentially exposed to injuries from contaminated sharps.’
      • ‘The safest method of preventing injury from sharps on the sterile field is using the hands-free technique instead of hand-to-hand passing of needles or sharp items between the surgeon and scrub person.’
      • ‘Proper work practice controls include a no-hands procedure in handling contaminated sharps and the elimination of hand-to-hand instrument passing in the OR.’
      • ‘Needles and other sharps must be placed in a puncture-proof container.’
      • ‘Workers must be trained in safe handling techniques of livestock medical wastes, including medical sharps.’
      • ‘Fatigue, long procedures, poor lighting, confined space, and the use of various sharps and instruments make the OR one of the most hazardous hospital environments for patients and health care staff members.’
      • ‘Councils must start giving the public clear information on what to do if they find a needle and offer staff training on how to safely remove sharps.’
      • ‘Secondary prevention, by contrast, refers to practices and technologies that make sharps safer, such as retractable blades and shielded hypodermic needles.’
      • ‘Separate containers must be used for ‘dry’ and ‘wet’ materials and sharps (needles, scalpel blades).’
      • ‘A tremendous amount of work is necessary to redesign surgical sharps and procedures so that exposure to blood and body fluid is reduced significantly during surgery.’
      • ‘Primary prevention techniques eliminate the need to introduce sharps into the workplace, thereby reducing the number of injuries caused by needlesticks.’
      • ‘Many exposures result from a failure to follow Infection Control guidelines regarding the safe handling and disposal of sharps.’
      • ‘The count procedure pertains to the perioperative RN's counting of sponges, sharps, and instruments throughout the surgical procedure and the documentation of these counts.’
  • 3informal A swindler or cheat.

    See also card sharp
    • ‘Deals of all sorts will be cut before this election ends here in the home of the sharps and sharks who have been cutting all sorts of deals for more than a century.’
    • ‘However, when the number is right, the sharps bet into books that post 20-cent lines.’

verb

[with object]
  • 1usually as adjective sharpedUS Music
    Raise the pitch of (a note).

  • 2archaic Cheat or swindle (someone), especially at cards.

    ‘the fellow is drunk, let's sharp him’
    swindle, defraud, cheat, fleece, exploit
    View synonyms

Phrases

  • sharp as a tack

    • Extremely clever or astute.

      • ‘As a lawyer in Southern California with a mind that's sharp as a tack, it's not good to miss even one day (she's mega-prolific) of her blog.’
      • ‘She was a brilliant speed player, sharp as a tack.’
      • ‘This guy's as sharp as a tack and I respect his opinions immensely.’
      • ‘She's a bit too bossy, but she's also as sharp as a tack.’
      • ‘She may have been old, but she was as sharp as a tack.’
      • ‘She's a lovely 77-year-old woman, sharp as a tack, without an enemy in the world.’
      • ‘Cassandra is sharp as a tack, awkward, and still young enough to greet her awakening desire and finer perceptions with astonishment and hyperbole.’
      • ‘She'd been vocal in class discussions and sharp as a tack.’
      • ‘But he was a loyal lieutenant to our ultimate boss, a genial man with a mind as sharp as a tack and a consummate skill at getting people to agree with each other, known to everyone as ‘Jack’.’
      • ‘It should be noted that his mind is sharp as a tack.’
  • not the sharpest knife in the drawer

    • informal Lacking intelligence; stupid.

      ‘she's not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but she isn't dishonest’
      • ‘When I've seen her on TV she seems nice enough but definitely not the sharpest knife in the drawer.’
      • ‘Doesn't look like Guido is the sharpest knife in the drawer.’
      • ‘She isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer but she manages to do a reasonable job as committee chairman.’
      • ‘Although he's a cutie, he's not the sharpest tool in the shed!’
      • ‘Any idiot could do it, even me and I really ain't the sharpest tool in the box.’
      • ‘She certainly doesn't look like the sharpest knife in the box.’
      • ‘While he may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, he doesn't deserve to spend eight years in prison for his mistake.’
      • ‘You really aren't the sharpest tool in the shed, are you?’
      • ‘They aren't the sharpest tools in the shed but most are essentially good people.’
      • ‘Lydia doesn't exactly come off as the sharpest knife in the drawer.’

Origin

Old English sc(e)arp, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch scherp and German scharf.

Pronunciation

sharp

/ʃɑːp/