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

    ‘I suddenly felt a sharp pain in my back’
    • ‘Seek immediate medical attention if you experience a sudden, sharp pain in the upper left side of your abdomen.’
    • ‘She also experienced a sharp pain and burning sensation in her right elbow and a tingling sensation in her right hand and fingers.’
    • ‘These involuntary contractions can be either dull or sharp and intense.’
    • ‘A sudden, sharp pain in his side prompted him to double over.’
    • ‘OK, it was the same type of shock, just a sharp shock, a sensation that went up my arm to the elbow.’
    • ‘He suddenly felt a sharp pain in the side of his head.’
    • ‘I gingerly moved to sit up, but a sharp pain shot through my body.’
    • ‘He poured her some unknown liquid and she drank it immediately - the sharp sensation of alcohol sent a pleasant burn down her throat.’
    • ‘It's often accompanied by abdominal pain - either mild and dull or sharp and intense.’
    • ‘To top it all a niggling pain gave off a sharp, burning sensation in the bottom of her stomach.’
    • ‘A sharp piercing pain struck right through her stomach and, like a deadly plague, spread out through her body.’
    • ‘I suddenly felt a sharp pang of pain thrust through my stomach.’
    • ‘There were sharp pains, and sudden dizziness, and then profuse bleedings at the pores, with dissolution.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Call the doctor right away if your child has sudden, sharp stomach pain that will not go away.’
    • ‘All of a sudden, I felt a sharp pain in my back, as if I had fallen on a hot needle.’
    • ‘Suddenly a sharp jolt of pain rang through my entire system as I opened my eyes.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A sharp and sudden pain in his left shoulder made him drop the man.’
    • ‘I glowered at him, feeling the sharp sensation at having made contact with his cheek so firmly.’
    excruciating, agonizing, intense, violent, piercing, stabbing, shooting, stinging, severe, acute, keen, fierce, searing
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    1. 2.1 (of a food, taste, or smell) acidic and intense.
      ‘fresh goats' milk cheese has a slightly sharper flavour than fromage frais’
      • ‘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 walk out and am immediately assaulted by a sharp smell in the air.’
      • ‘Then she smelt the sharp tang of sulphur again and turned back.’
      • ‘I often go to goat farms in the area to select the deliciously sour and sharp cheese in all its different varieties.’
      • ‘It's a very strong and sharp cheese, and it has tiny holes in it.’
      • ‘For a medium flavor, six months is required, while a sharp taste takes even longer.’
      • ‘Maybe you dream of me - the sharp taste of my tears, scent of my hair.’
      • ‘The sweetness of the raisins and ricotta balanced the otherwise sharp taste of the chard, and the pinenuts offered a nice textural change.’
      • ‘Sansho is used in Japanese cooking to add a sharp note to fatty foods, eels for example.’
      • ‘The sharp taste of salt and alkaline was tangy on my lips.’
      • ‘These materials both have a sharp smell, tangy taste, and are irritating to skin in large concentrations.’
      • ‘Her right ankle throbbed steadily and the smell of sharp herbs was coming from somewhere close.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It had the sharp taste lemon tart should have but was not easy to cut on a saucer!’
      • ‘All of these Asian greens are tender and succulent, but flavors vary from mild and clean to sharp and peppery.’
      • ‘The sharp smell of medication and antiseptic replaced the cigarette and coffee smell of this small room.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The original recipe suggests gruyère cheese, but I don't like that much and opted for a sharp English cheddar instead.’
      tangy, piquant, strong
      acrid, burning, pungent
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    2. 2.2 (of a sound) sudden and penetrating.
      ‘there was a sharp crack of thunder’
      • ‘The sharp sound of boot heels came from far away, approaching their barracks like some grim reaper, come to harvest their humiliation.’
      • ‘A short, sharp bark of command and they were gone.’
      • ‘All in all, not much got done until Mikhail's aunt Meredith came in and silenced them all with a sharp whistle.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A sharp whistle from the house brought the men up short.’
      • ‘The pup stopped in front of him, and gave a sharp bark.’
      • ‘He heard the sharp bark of a dog moments before the bang of pistol fire.’
      • ‘There was a sharp clatter when Mrs. Jones banged the pan with her spatula as she whipped around to face them.’
      • ‘The sharp sound was so sudden that the horses nearest to him jumped and wouldn't settle down for at least five minutes.’
      • ‘She had just rolled over and began to dream of something else when she heard the sharp sound of breaking glass.’
      • ‘The sharp clang of metal on metal echoed throughout the arena.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The wolf gave a sharp bark and motioned towards the exit.’
      • ‘When sharp sirens pierced rent the night air, the two thugs scrambled to standing positions and then ran off, disappearing into the night.’
      • ‘The loud, sharp noise of the door closing confirmed that.’
      • ‘When Debbie entered the tiny white room, the sharp click of her too-high heels shattered the almost-silence.’
      • ‘At times, sharp clicks and bubbles of noise will suddenly bulge to the top before disappearing back into the fray.’
      • ‘The gun itself barely moves, and the sharp sound of the report echoes through surrounding hills and dies away.’
      • ‘A sharp click sounded in her ears, but she was too busy to notice.’
      • ‘Eventually, there was a sharp whistle and the boys looked around at the whistler.’
      loud, piercing, shrill, high-pitched, high, penetrating, harsh, strident
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    3. 2.3 (of words or a speaker) critical or hurtful.
      ‘she feared his sharp tongue’
      ‘he could be very sharp with her’
      • ‘Desiree bit her tongue, for she felt like showering the mysterious knight with sharp words.’
      • ‘She was still concerned about the exchange of sharp words between the men.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Nearly all of them contain sharp words for the president.’
      • ‘Another is to replace the sharp words with words of encouragement or at least something neutral.’
      • ‘I could still hear his sharp words: Why didn't he protect himself?’
      • ‘Seemingly confident just a few weeks ago, she is now prone to utter sharp words about her critics in public.’
      • ‘But then he remembered that he'd blown that all away with a few sharp words.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It might take a little persuasion and there might be a few sharp words exchanged but that was usually the height of it.’
      • ‘An elderly, well-dressed lady spoke in sharp tones to the pair, both of whom looked towards me and became silent.’
      • ‘Then he stalked off the field after a sharp word from the coach.’
      • ‘The organisers of the event came in for sharp words by the eager fans.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I've never known a holiday to be spoiled, or even darkened, by an argument, by tensions that crackle and erupt in sharp words.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Mordechai spoke his sharp words not to her, but to posterity.’
      • ‘Yesterday, I exchanged sharp words with an old friend online.’
      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
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    4. 2.4 (of an emotion or experience) felt acutely or intensely; painful.
      ‘her sharp disappointment was tinged with embarrassment’
      • ‘Sometimes the cooks got confused and served it two weeks in a row, which was a sharp disappointment.’
      • ‘I felt a sharp hope rising in me and I quelled it immediately.’
      • ‘My feelings of disappointment were sharp, but soon the intifada was over.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The disappointments are sharp, but the possibilities are endless.’
      • ‘They remember the sharp fear of unwanted pregnancies.’
      intense, acute, keen, strong, bitter, fierce, searing, piercing, heartfelt, very great, overpowering
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  • 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’
    • ‘The image is sharp and well defined without any imperfections.’
    • ‘Fully depress the button and the camera will have recorded the sharp shot of the couple you wanted.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He doesn't bother getting involved in details - he lays out a sharp contrast.’
    • ‘It is for the most part a very good transfer, with sharp contrasts and excellent details.’
    • ‘This is a recent production, and as such, the colors are well balanced and the picture sharp.’
    • ‘The sharp detail and good contrast control offer a good look at the few interesting things that happen in the mostly darkened production.’
    • ‘The black-and-white image is stable with beautiful contrast and sharp detail.’
    • ‘The image is black-and-white with strong contrast and sharp detail.’
    • ‘It's a great feeling to define in sharp crisp outlines what you believe in, and what you stand against.’
    • ‘But - in sharp contrast - Reuters has stuck to a distinctive approach for decades.’
    • ‘At about noon, the city loomed before, the big black stone walls making a sharp contrast against the clear blue of the sky.’
    • ‘These sharp, panoramic, full-color pictures provided fodder for a third Nature report.’
    • ‘The colors all appear clearly defined and sharp while the black levels are solid and well saturated.’
    • ‘The picture is so sharp you cannot see any individual pixels.’
    • ‘Detail is sharp and clear, contrast is nicely managed, and deep black levels make this pleasing to behold - visually.’
    • ‘Despite their pervasiveness, lanning clearly shows that such sharp distinctions cannot be maintained.’
    • ‘Clearly a sharp distinction must be drawn between means of production ordinarily conceived, and entrepreneurship.’
    • ‘In contrast, there are in Chile very sharp accent distinctions among the different social classes.’
    • ‘If you want only the subject sharp, use a wide aperture.’
    distinct, clear-cut, clear, well defined, well focused, crisp
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  • 4(of an action or change) sudden and marked.

    ‘there was a sharp increase in interest rates’
    ‘he heard her sharp intake of breath’
    • ‘It notes the sharp decline in voter participation - but also the increased politicisation that is taking place in society.’
    • ‘By a ‘currency crisis’ he means a sharp change in the value of the US dollar that would hurt the economy as a whole.’
    • ‘Back in the 1980s the figure was believed to be in the region of €4 billion during the sharp economic slowdown.’
    • ‘The plunge in profits and sudden sharp increase in the burden of debt are, of course, leading symptoms of a depression.’
    • ‘The traditional short-covering by speculators that usually followed a sharp downward movement was no longer present to instill some recovery.’
    • ‘Monday's sharp stock market plunge and uncertain world events may have you longing for a secure place to stash your savings.’
    • ‘Girls' education has particularly suffered, and the UN has noted a sharp decline in female literacy.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Individual chronologies were used to study the frequencies of sharp increases and decreases in growth.’
    • ‘The capital encountered severe drought this year due to a sharp decrease in rainfall.’
    • ‘So when the 1980s came along, there is a sharp decline in commodity prices and a sharp increase in real interest rates.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Those sharp dips mainly reflected the pace of technological progress and faster productivity growth.’
    • ‘Such a return, given low interest rates, contributed to a sharp increase in his deferred savings in recent years.’
    • ‘I have been away for three years and was struck by the sharp change in tone and perceptions.’
    • ‘Human maturation is a gradual process, a continuum rather than a sharp change.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The decline was due to weaker current business conditions which reversed a sharp increase in July.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘According to their calculations, neither global sea level rise nor faster melting of glacial ice could have produced such a sharp change.’
    sudden, abrupt, rapid
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    1. 4.1 (of a bend, angle, or turn) making a sudden change of direction.
      ‘the bus creaked round a sharp hairpin bend’
      • ‘I had completed the sharp bend and it appeared before me, that barely visible path I was to take.’
      • ‘Images of dissected tendon taken under the light microscope show that fibrils can sustain sharp bends or kinks along their length.’
      • ‘They would travel in one direction for a while before curving back in a very sharp turn to another direction.’
      • ‘There are straight stretches and sharp bends and that is why there are so many fatalities on that road.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Turning a very sharp bend of what seemed like a U-turn, I only caught a passing glimpse of it.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Indianapolis, of course, has the long straightaways, and sharp turns.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Now was time to use my new toy, the strip heater, since I needed a nice straight line bent at a sharp angle.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They would travel in one direction for a while and then curve back in a very sharp turn in another direction.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘With no avail, she took a sharp turn, and bolted in the other direction.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The culminating crisis resolves itself as a muddle-through, a bend rather than a sharp turn in the road.’
      • ‘A sudden sharp turn made Tony lose his balance and hit the side of the van.’
      hairpin, tight, angular
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  • 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’
    • ‘But everyone else was also entering into dangerous enemy territory, so Cat and her comrades had to stay sharp or else get left behind.’
    • ‘He had to keep his mind sharp to focus on the problem at hand.’
    • ‘For his self-awareness is acute and his sense of humour is sharp.’
    • ‘He misses little, his sharp eyes sweeping up and down whatever street or room he enters, taking everything in.’
    • ‘It transcends its soap-opera instincts thanks to the bright humour and sharp observations of the script.’
    • ‘No matter how sharp you are at 70 or 80 years old, there is a slowing down.’
    • ‘He is renowned as a canny strategist and has a sharp economic mind, but his dictatorial approach and suppression of human rights worries many.’
    • ‘Nutrients fight diseases of the heart, help prevent cancer and even keep the brain sharp.’
    • ‘It's probably good to keep some of the nonverbal aspects of my mind sharp.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I've never worked with someone who is so perceptive, sharp and wise.’
    • ‘I like to do logic problems to keep my mind sharp.’
    • ‘She keeps her stand-up sharp by hitting the Provincetown comedy circuit every summer.’
    • ‘Competition is a good excuse to get your guns working and keep your eye sharp.’
    • ‘Quick intervention begins with keen sensitivity and sharp observation.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘If you have the right background and are sharp, witty and perceptive, we would like to hear from you.’
    • ‘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.’
    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
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    1. 5.1 Quick to take advantage, especially in an unscrupulous or dishonest way.
      ‘Paul's a sharp operator’
      • ‘In reality, it was ordinary citizens and not the sharp operators who stored their wealth in banknotes.’
      • ‘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.’
      clever, shrewd, canny, smart
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  • 6(of musical sound) above true or normal pitch.

    • ‘In ‘musette tuning’ two reeds sound simultaneously for each note, one tuned slightly sharp, giving a tremolo effect.’
    • ‘I took out the tuner, and began tuning it just a smidge sharp, because I like the sound of it better that way.’
    • ‘The Quail's voice also gave rise to a number of imitative names in Britain and Ireland, which incorporate the three sharp notes.’
    • ‘When the tip of her first finger touched it, a sharp note sang through her ears.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Apart from a tendency of the clarinet to go a tad sharp at times this was a most enjoyable performance.’
    • ‘A note has the same name, whether it is sharp, flat or natural.’
    • ‘The entire musical burden is shifted to the massive chorus, while fierce sharp chords pronounce the onset of the bloody wounds.’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 6.1postpositive (of a note) a semitone higher than a specified note.
      ‘F sharp’
      • ‘Also, there are many ways of producing an F sharp on a cello.’
      • ‘The F sharp Nocturne comes to life in a remarkable manner whilst the C sharp minor Etude also creates a palpable sense of mystery.’
      • ‘His annotations to this CD proudly point out the Cs, C sharps, and Ds that he must sing.’
      • ‘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.’
    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’
    • ‘Complete your look with sharp looking dressy shoes.’
    • ‘When you hear the word secretary, you probably think of a pretty, petite lady who wears stylish, sharp skirt outfits.’
    • ‘Expect sharp suits, chic outfits and a style more modern than what we've come to expect from some pop divas.’
    • ‘I was so sharp in these new stylish clothes, I could cut butter, or at least turn heads.’
    • ‘The prospect of anti-capitalist mobilisations pushed the Swiss bankers to abandon sharp suits and dress down.’
    • ‘It can be worn on a night out on the town and can add a sharp touch to any outfit.’
    • ‘Even he looked quite winsome in sharp, dark clothes and a cape behind him.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In the fall, a flat loafer, heavy tights, and a nice pair of trousers is a sharp look.’
    • ‘Scuzzily-dressed blokes will up a gear and start attiring themselves competitively with funky shirts, sharp trousers and bobby dazzlers.’
    • ‘I recently bought a really sharp suit at the Men's Warehouse here in Philly.’
    • ‘He may not have had his eyes, but he looked great, he was sharp, he was smart and women were attracted to him.’
    • ‘Before him stood a clean, young man dressed in a sharp business suit.’
    • ‘He is dapper in blazer, cane, sharp hat and regimental tie, which he wears with a tie clip.’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The result is a translation of ordinarily masculine clothing into sharp womenswear that's feminine and sexy without flashing flesh.’
    • ‘Then it was back into his sharp street clothes, to wait for a friend to pick him up to go cruising their territories.’
    • ‘After all, he was wearing sharp clothes and seemed to be giving out the orders.’
    smart, stylish, fashionable, chic, modish, elegant, spruce
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adverb

  • 1Precisely (used after an expression of time)

    ‘the meeting starts at 7.30 sharp’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Tuesday morning, 8 sharp I was back at the hospital.’
    • ‘The parade will come through the town at 3pm sharp with the floats gathering in ARCH at 2pm.’
    • ‘All he told me was that he would come and get me by 3: 00 PM sharp the next day.’
    • ‘Miraculously we were ready to leave at seven o'clock sharp each day.’
    • ‘The next meeting takes place on Wednesday, May 14, at 8pm sharp and will be the annual general meeting.’
    • ‘Not exactly the 8am sharp time they had indicated in the memo.’
    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.

    • ‘Choices in successive levels expand to all notes, then sharps and flats.’
    • ‘His scale organizes the notes into octaves, with sharps and flats in between.’
    • ‘By remembering a simple pattern one can determine the amount of sharps and flats in a major chord.’
    • ‘In this example, the given notated key is two sharps.’
    • ‘Ex. 4 shows an octave of the chromatic scale beginning on C, notated in sharps ascending and flats descending.’
    • ‘The chromatic scale includes five additional notes - the sharps and flats (black keys of a piano).’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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?’’
    • ‘The student begins to understand the origins of key and tonality, rather than memorizing the order of flats and sharps.’
    • ‘Pitch class is the name of a tone, such as A, B, C, etc., including sharps (#) and flats (b).’
    • ‘The important thing isn't anything to do with the sharps and flats, or the tricky counting.’
    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.’
      • ‘Chong goes so far as to indicate fingering with Arabic numbers; flats and sharps are marked by downward and upward arrows, respectively.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Needles and other sharps must be placed in a puncture-proof container.’
      • ‘Separate containers must be used for ‘dry’ and ‘wet’ materials and sharps (needles, scalpel blades).’
      • ‘Primary prevention techniques eliminate the need to introduce sharps into the workplace, thereby reducing the number of injuries caused by needlesticks.’
      • ‘Workers must be trained in safe handling techniques of livestock medical wastes, including medical sharps.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Secondary prevention, by contrast, refers to practices and technologies that make sharps safer, such as retractable blades and shielded hypodermic needles.’
      • ‘Almost all laboratories must handle and dispose of sharps and blood and urine samples.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Many exposures result from a failure to follow Infection Control guidelines regarding the safe handling and disposal of sharps.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Before closing the skin incisions, perioperative team members count all sponges, sharps, and instruments and report correct counts to the surgeon.’
  • 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’

Phrases

  • sharp as a tack

    • Extremely clever or astute.

      • ‘She's a lovely 77-year-old woman, sharp as a tack, without an enemy in the world.’
      • ‘She was a brilliant speed player, sharp as a tack.’
      • ‘She'd been vocal in class discussions and sharp as a tack.’
      • ‘This guy's as sharp as a tack and I respect his opinions immensely.’
      • ‘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’.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It should be noted that his mind is sharp as a tack.’
      • ‘Cassandra is sharp as a tack, awkward, and still young enough to greet her awakening desire and finer perceptions with astonishment and hyperbole.’
      • ‘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.’
  • the sharp end

    • 1The most important or influential part of an activity or process.

      ‘he was born at the sharp end of history’
      • ‘Unlike any university-based course, the WPI programme exposed us to the sharp end of power, wealth, and social and political influences.’
      • ‘That's why it is so important that the people on the sharp end of these structural changes are given the opportunity to get their message through - loud and clear.’
      1. 1.1The most risky or unpleasant part of a system or activity.
        ‘businessmen are at the sharp end of the recession’
        • ‘The fundamental reason is that they are at the sharp end of the social effects of unemployment, job insecurity and low pay.’
        • ‘He was spot on when he said ‘Rough sleepers are at the sharp end of social exclusion.’’
        • ‘What the Executive now needs is to start developing the skills which would allow it to understand how demanding life is at the sharp end of public service delivery for teachers, doctors, police officers and others.’
        • ‘‘The guys on the street are at the sharp end of things,’ he says.’
        • ‘‘All local prisons are at the sharp end of overcrowding,’ the report points out.’
        • ‘But we cannot, in the process, join in the attacks on those very people who are at the sharp end of racist attacks.’
        • ‘One of the ugliest aspects of the risk aversion culture is the way we name and blame the beleaguered professionals who are at the sharp end of our failed policies.’
        • ‘State social work is at the sharp end of the welfare state.’
    • 2The bow of a ship.

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