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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The sharp, tapered tip is used to pierce and thread smaller cuts without damaging its appearance.’
    • ‘The bottom of the actuating rod has a sharp point, which pierces the gas cylinder release valve.’
    • ‘She cried out in pain; it felt like sharp knives were piercing her.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There was nothing in the teepee sharp enough to use as a cutting tool.’
    • ‘Upon his mighty paws, which resembled large, furry, human hands, were claws sharp as razors and unbreakable as the most finally crafted swords.’
    • ‘We smiled at them and each other as sharp bits of jeep pierced our civilization-softened bodies.’
    • ‘Their sharp weapons had pierced his sweet heart, and he had fallen at her side.’
    • ‘She fell on to her side, not caring about the sharp rocks piercing her thin side.’
    • ‘Four sharp claws protruded from the creature's feet as well.’
    • ‘As soon as she touched it, she felt a sharp splinter pierce her thumb.’
    • ‘Use sharp scissors to limit fabric movement when cutting.’
    • ‘Craftsmen use a stainless steel knife, with a sharp edge and triangular blade, to cut rough shapes in the coir.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He gave her a sickening smile and then his lips drew back to reveal his long sharp glistening fangs.’
    • ‘Looking around, she found a sharp strong piece of wood.’
    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’
      • ‘Is the form of his nose sharp, melancholy, or refined?’
      • ‘I took out a sharp pencil and began to fill in the grades.’
      • ‘He had a tattoo across his lower back; it said ‘Shooter’ in sharp, pointy black letters.’
      • ‘These spicules are up to 0.03 mm in diameter and taper to sharp tips.’
      • ‘If you want to succeed in finance, you need a sharp mind - and a sharp pencil.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They must have used a very sharp pencil to draw that one up.’
      • ‘The long robe drapes over the front of the throne, falling in pleats that taper to sharp points along the hem.’
      • ‘And then she took a sharp pencil and began making light, very fine lines.’
      • ‘Then, with a felt-tipped pen or sharp pencil, mark the lag screw holes that were drilled in the ledger on the wail.’
      • ‘She believed that she got the lead poisoning when a sharp pencil was poked into her cheek.’
      • ‘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.’
      pointed, tapering, tapered, needle-like, spiky
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    2. 1.2 (of sand or gravel) composed of angular grains.
      • ‘Or remove the concrete and lay old bricks on a mixture of sharp sand and earth.’
      • ‘Dig a v-shaped trench with a sloping side and a straight side and line it with sharp sand to help with 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.’
      • ‘To improve drainage without sacrificing nutrients, add sharp sand or perlite to a good sterilized compost-based mix.’
      • ‘The farm deals in soft and sharp sand and gravel.’
      • ‘He had insisted on best quality sharp sand, but even then it was a lot of money to pay.’
      • ‘Top dress with sharp sand to improve the drainage.’
      • ‘This time it was six bags of sharp sand delivered by Mr Thin.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I do, however, always add 25% sharp grit to all the composts to help with drainage and pot stability.’
      • ‘The seventh platform was covered in loose and sharp gravel.’
      • ‘This may be mixed with sharp sand, which will encourage the finer grasses.’
      • ‘The crushing also produced a sharp sand with angular grains that made it far preferable as a bonding agent in mortar.’
      • ‘To discourage voles or gophers, add a handful of sharp gravel to the planting hole or plant bulbs in wire or fabric baskets.’
      • ‘The material used is a mixture of cement, sharp sand and crushed rock or pebbles.’
      • ‘Add a little sharp sand to improve drainage if your soil tends to hold water.’
      • ‘Sprinkle fine, sharp gravel around each bulb to discourage voles.’
      • ‘Start by adding plenty of sharp sand to your rosemary bed.’
      • ‘Or you may set your plant in sharp sand, and mix some lime with the soil which you replace.’
      • ‘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’
    • ‘She also experienced a sharp pain and burning sensation in her right elbow and a tingling sensation in her right hand and fingers.’
    • ‘Suddenly a sharp jolt of pain rang through my entire system as I opened my eyes.’
    • ‘Seek immediate medical attention if you experience a sudden, sharp pain in the upper left side of your abdomen.’
    • ‘A sharp and sudden pain in his left shoulder made him drop the man.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘All of a sudden, I felt a sharp pain in my back, as if I had fallen on a hot needle.’
    • ‘These involuntary contractions can be either dull or sharp and intense.’
    • ‘I suddenly felt a sharp pang of pain thrust through my stomach.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A sudden, sharp pain in his side prompted him to double over.’
    • ‘It's often accompanied by abdominal pain - either mild and dull or sharp and intense.’
    • ‘He poured her some unknown liquid and she drank it immediately - the sharp sensation of alcohol sent a pleasant burn down her throat.’
    • ‘Call the doctor right away if your child has sudden, sharp stomach pain that will not go away.’
    • ‘I gingerly moved to sit up, but a sharp pain shot through my body.’
    • ‘He suddenly felt a sharp pain in the side of his head.’
    • ‘To top it all a niggling pain gave off a sharp, burning sensation in the bottom of her stomach.’
    • ‘OK, it was the same type of shock, just a sharp shock, a sensation that went up my arm to the elbow.’
    • ‘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.’
    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’
      • ‘I walk out and am immediately assaulted by a sharp smell in the air.’
      • ‘The sharp taste of salt and alkaline was tangy on my lips.’
      • ‘It had the sharp taste lemon tart should have but was not easy to cut on a saucer!’
      • ‘The sweetness of the raisins and ricotta balanced the otherwise sharp taste of the chard, and the pinenuts offered a nice textural change.’
      • ‘Her right ankle throbbed steadily and the smell of sharp herbs was coming from somewhere close.’
      • ‘I often go to goat farms in the area to select the deliciously sour and sharp cheese in all its different varieties.’
      • ‘For a medium flavor, six months is required, while a sharp taste takes even longer.’
      • ‘It's a very strong and sharp cheese, and it has tiny holes in it.’
      • ‘These materials both have a sharp smell, tangy taste, and are irritating to skin in large concentrations.’
      • ‘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 smells like a lime, and has a very sharp taste.’
      • ‘It gave off an unfamiliar sharp smell, and all the adults around me crunched into each stalk with gusto.’
      • ‘All of these Asian greens are tender and succulent, but flavors vary from mild and clean to sharp and peppery.’
      • ‘Sansho is used in Japanese cooking to add a sharp note to fatty foods, eels for example.’
      • ‘Then she smelt the sharp tang of sulphur again and turned back.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She felt her determination melt away as the doctor swabbed her wrist with the disinfectant, the sharp smell tickling her nose.’
      • ‘The sharp smell of medication and antiseptic replaced the cigarette and coffee smell of this small room.’
      • ‘The original recipe suggests gruyère cheese, but I don't like that much and opted for a sharp English cheddar instead.’
      • ‘Maybe you dream of me - the sharp taste of my tears, scent of my hair.’
      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 wolf gave a sharp bark and motioned towards the exit.’
      • ‘The loud, sharp noise of the door closing confirmed that.’
      • ‘A sharp click sounded in her ears, but she was too busy to notice.’
      • ‘When Debbie entered the tiny white room, the sharp click of her too-high heels shattered the almost-silence.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘When sharp sirens pierced rent the night air, the two thugs scrambled to standing positions and then ran off, disappearing into the night.’
      • ‘He heard the sharp bark of a dog moments before the bang of pistol fire.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She had just rolled over and began to dream of something else when she heard the sharp sound of breaking glass.’
      • ‘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 sharp clang of metal on metal echoed throughout the arena.’
      • ‘Eventually, there was a sharp whistle and the boys looked around at the whistler.’
      • ‘The pup stopped in front of him, and gave a sharp bark.’
      • ‘There was a sharp clatter when Mrs. Jones banged the pan with her spatula as she whipped around to face them.’
      • ‘A sharp whistle from the house brought the men up short.’
      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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I could still hear his sharp words: Why didn't he protect himself?’
      • ‘The organisers of the event came in for sharp words by the eager fans.’
      • ‘Desiree bit her tongue, for she felt like showering the mysterious knight with sharp words.’
      • ‘Yesterday, I exchanged sharp words with an old friend online.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But then he remembered that he'd blown that all away with a few sharp words.’
      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘It might take a little persuasion and there might be a few sharp words exchanged but that was usually the height of it.’
      • ‘Another is to replace the sharp words with words of encouragement or at least something neutral.’
      • ‘Seemingly confident just a few weeks ago, she is now prone to utter sharp words about her critics in public.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Her words were sharp and I felt them cut into each piece of my shattered heart.’
      • ‘She was still concerned about the exchange of sharp words between the men.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Mordechai spoke his sharp words not to her, but to posterity.’
      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’
      • ‘She got out of the shower lazily, and had a sharp feeling in her stomach that something would happen today.’
      • ‘As her mind unravels we experience sudden images of sharp terror.’
      • ‘My feelings of disappointment were sharp, but soon the intifada was over.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They remember the sharp fear of unwanted pregnancies.’
      • ‘The disappointments are sharp, but the possibilities are endless.’
      • ‘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.’
      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’
    • ‘At about noon, the city loomed before, the big black stone walls making a sharp contrast against the clear blue of the sky.’
    • ‘The image is sharp and well defined without any imperfections.’
    • ‘If you want only the subject sharp, use a wide aperture.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The sharp detail and good contrast control offer a good look at the few interesting things that happen in the mostly darkened production.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Detail is sharp and clear, contrast is nicely managed, and deep black levels make this pleasing to behold - visually.’
    • ‘The image is black-and-white with strong contrast and sharp detail.’
    • ‘These sharp, panoramic, full-color pictures provided fodder for a third Nature report.’
    • ‘The black-and-white image is stable with beautiful contrast and sharp detail.’
    • ‘Clearly a sharp distinction must be drawn between means of production ordinarily conceived, and entrepreneurship.’
    • ‘This is a recent production, and as such, the colors are well balanced and the picture sharp.’
    • ‘It's a great feeling to define in sharp crisp outlines what you believe in, and what you stand against.’
    • ‘In contrast, there are in Chile very sharp accent distinctions among the different social classes.’
    • ‘Fully depress the button and the camera will have recorded the sharp shot of the couple you wanted.’
    • ‘Despite their pervasiveness, lanning clearly shows that such sharp distinctions cannot be maintained.’
    • ‘The picture is so sharp you cannot see any individual pixels.’
    • ‘It is for the most part a very good transfer, with sharp contrasts and excellent details.’
    • ‘The colors all appear clearly defined and sharp while the black levels are solid and well saturated.’
    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’
    • ‘So when the 1980s came along, there is a sharp decline in commodity prices and a sharp increase in real interest rates.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The capital encountered severe drought this year due to a sharp decrease in rainfall.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Individual chronologies were used to study the frequencies of sharp increases and decreases in growth.’
    • ‘Girls' education has particularly suffered, and the UN has noted a sharp decline in female literacy.’
    • ‘By a ‘currency crisis’ he means a sharp change in the value of the US dollar that would hurt the economy as a whole.’
    • ‘Human maturation is a gradual process, a continuum rather than a sharp change.’
    • ‘Back in the 1980s the figure was believed to be in the region of €4 billion during the sharp economic slowdown.’
    • ‘It notes the sharp decline in voter participation - but also the increased politicisation that is taking place in society.’
    • ‘The traditional short-covering by speculators that usually followed a sharp downward movement was no longer present to instill some recovery.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Monday's sharp stock market plunge and uncertain world events may have you longing for a secure place to stash your savings.’
    • ‘The decline was due to weaker current business conditions which reversed a sharp increase in July.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Such a return, given low interest rates, contributed to a sharp increase in his deferred savings in recent years.’
    • ‘The plunge in profits and sudden sharp increase in the burden of debt are, of course, leading symptoms of a depression.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I have been away for three years and was struck by the sharp change in tone and perceptions.’
    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’
      • ‘A smooth, curved bedline is much easier to mow around than one with a lot of sharp angles and corners.’
      • ‘A sudden sharp turn made Tony lose his balance and hit the side of the van.’
      • ‘Turning a very sharp bend of what seemed like a U-turn, I only caught a passing glimpse of it.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He lay sprawled on the tiles, his arms and legs bent at sharp angles.’
      • ‘As he made sharp turns around corners, he couldn't help but wonder why the guy was chasing him over an apple.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There are straight stretches and sharp bends and that is why there are so many fatalities on that road.’
      • ‘They would travel in one direction for a while before curving back in a very sharp turn to another direction.’
      • ‘They would travel in one direction for a while and then curve back in a very sharp turn in another 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.’
      • ‘Now was time to use my new toy, the strip heater, since I needed a nice straight line bent at a sharp angle.’
      • ‘With no avail, she took a sharp turn, and bolted in the other 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Indianapolis, of course, has the long straightaways, and sharp turns.’
      • ‘The culminating crisis resolves itself as a muddle-through, a bend rather than a sharp turn in the road.’
      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’
    • ‘Competition is a good excuse to get your guns working and keep your eye sharp.’
    • ‘She keeps her stand-up sharp by hitting the Provincetown comedy circuit every summer.’
    • ‘It's probably good to keep some of the nonverbal aspects of my mind sharp.’
    • ‘It transcends its soap-opera instincts thanks to the bright humour and sharp observations of the script.’
    • ‘But everyone else was also entering into dangerous enemy territory, so Cat and her comrades had to stay sharp or else get left behind.’
    • ‘If you have the right background and are sharp, witty and perceptive, we would like to hear from you.’
    • ‘For his self-awareness is acute and his sense of humour is sharp.’
    • ‘He had to keep his mind sharp to focus on the problem at hand.’
    • ‘Quick intervention begins with keen sensitivity and sharp observation.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Rigel is looking ominously sharp now and his speed around the court is making it difficult for me to find a winner.’
    • ‘He misses little, his sharp eyes sweeping up and down whatever street or room he enters, taking everything in.’
    • ‘He couldn't see, true, but they didn't know about how sharp his hearing was.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Nutrients fight diseases of the heart, help prevent cancer and even keep the brain 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.’
    • ‘He is renowned as a canny strategist and has a sharp economic mind, but his dictatorial approach and suppression of human rights worries many.’
    • ‘No matter how sharp you are at 70 or 80 years old, there is a slowing down.’
    • ‘I've never worked with someone who is so perceptive, sharp and wise.’
    • ‘I like to do logic problems to keep 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
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    1. 5.1 Quick to take advantage, especially in an unscrupulous or dishonest way.
      ‘Paul's a sharp operator’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It's one thing if analysts are deceived by sharp operators.’
      clever, shrewd, canny, smart
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  • 6(of musical sound) above true or normal pitch.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The Quail's voice also gave rise to a number of imitative names in Britain and Ireland, which incorporate the three sharp notes.’
    • ‘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 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.’
    • ‘Apart from a tendency of the clarinet to go a tad sharp at times this was a most enjoyable performance.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘When the tip of her first finger touched it, a sharp note sang through her ears.’
    • ‘A note has the same name, whether it is sharp, flat or natural.’
    1. 6.1postpositive (of a note) a semitone higher than a specified note.
      ‘F sharp’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
    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’
    • ‘Before him stood a clean, young man dressed in a sharp business suit.’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Complete your look with sharp looking dressy shoes.’
    • ‘After all, he was wearing sharp clothes and seemed to be giving out the orders.’
    • ‘He may not have had his eyes, but he looked great, he was sharp, he was smart and women were attracted to him.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The result is a translation of ordinarily masculine clothing into sharp womenswear that's feminine and sexy without flashing flesh.’
    • ‘He is dapper in blazer, cane, sharp hat and regimental tie, which he wears with a tie clip.’
    • ‘Then it was back into his sharp street clothes, to wait for a friend to pick him up to go cruising their territories.’
    • ‘The prospect of anti-capitalist mobilisations pushed the Swiss bankers to abandon sharp suits and dress down.’
    • ‘Expect sharp suits, chic outfits and a style more modern than what we've come to expect from some pop divas.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I was so sharp in these new stylish clothes, I could cut butter, or at least turn heads.’
    • ‘It can be worn on a night out on the town and can add a sharp touch to any outfit.’
    • ‘I recently bought a really sharp suit at the Men's Warehouse here in Philly.’
    • ‘When you hear the word secretary, you probably think of a pretty, petite lady who wears stylish, sharp skirt outfits.’
    • ‘I just wore sharp clothes, and whenever anyone asked who was I supposed to be, I told them and smiled.’
    • ‘Even he looked quite winsome in sharp, dark clothes and a cape behind him.’
    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’
    • ‘The next meeting takes place on Wednesday, May 14, at 8pm sharp and will be the annual general meeting.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Miraculously we were ready to leave at seven o'clock sharp each day.’
    • ‘Tuesday morning, 8 sharp I was back at the hospital.’
    • ‘At 8 p.m. sharp the Fashion Show commenced.’
    • ‘All he told me was that he would come and get me by 3: 00 PM sharp the next day.’
    • ‘The parade will come through the town at 3pm sharp with the floats gathering in ARCH at 2pm.’
    • ‘All players are asked to be at the pitch at 7p.m. sharp.’
    • ‘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.

    • ‘By remembering a simple pattern one can determine the amount of sharps and flats in a major chord.’
    • ‘But one day I asked Kathryn how many sharps E major had.’
    • ‘The important thing isn't anything to do with the sharps and flats, or the tricky counting.’
    • ‘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 chromatic scale includes five additional notes - the sharps and flats (black keys of a piano).’
    • ‘Ex. 4 shows an octave of the chromatic scale beginning on C, notated in sharps ascending and flats descending.’
    • ‘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).’
    • ‘The student begins to understand the origins of key and tonality, rather than memorizing the order of flats and sharps.’
    • ‘Choices in successive levels expand to all notes, then sharps and 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?’’
    • ‘In this example, the given notated key is two sharps.’
    • ‘His scale organizes the notes into octaves, with sharps and flats in between.’
    1. 1.1 The sign ♯, indicating a sharp.
      • ‘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.’’
      • ‘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.’
  • 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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Secondary prevention, by contrast, refers to practices and technologies that make sharps safer, such as retractable blades and shielded hypodermic needles.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Counting sponges, sharps, and instruments with the circulating nurse is the scrub person's responsibility.’
      • ‘Three competency tools - paper, videotape, and CD-ROM - were created for safe techniques in the use of sharps for the scrub role.’
      • ‘Workers must be trained in safe handling techniques of livestock medical wastes, including medical sharps.’
      • ‘Never put needles or other sharps into clinical or household waste bags.’
      • ‘These safety shields will reduce the risk of accidental exposure of healthcare workers to infectious agents through contaminated sharps in the workplace.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Many exposures result from a failure to follow Infection Control guidelines regarding the safe handling and disposal of sharps.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Before closing the skin incisions, perioperative team members count all sponges, sharps, and instruments and report correct counts to the surgeon.’
      • ‘Needles and other sharps must be placed in a puncture-proof container.’
  • 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.

      • ‘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’.’
      • ‘She was a brilliant speed player, sharp as a tack.’
      • ‘She's a bit too bossy, but she's also as 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 lovely 77-year-old woman, sharp as a tack, without an enemy in the world.’
      • ‘She'd been vocal in class discussions and sharp as a tack.’
      • ‘She may have been old, but she was as sharp as a tack.’
      • ‘It should be noted that his mind is sharp as a tack.’
      • ‘This guy's as sharp as a tack and I respect his opinions immensely.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 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’
      • ‘She certainly doesn't look like the sharpest knife in the box.’
      • ‘They aren't the sharpest tools in the shed but most are essentially good people.’
      • ‘When I've seen her on TV she seems nice enough but definitely not the sharpest knife in the drawer.’
      • ‘You really aren't the sharpest tool in the shed, are you?’
      • ‘Although he's a cutie, he's not the sharpest tool in the shed!’
      • ‘She isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer but she manages to do a reasonable job as committee chairman.’
      • ‘Doesn't look like Guido is the sharpest knife in the drawer.’
      • ‘Any idiot could do it, even me and I really ain't the sharpest tool in the box.’
      • ‘Lydia doesn't exactly come off as the sharpest knife in the drawer.’
      • ‘While he may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, he doesn't deserve to spend eight years in prison for his mistake.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

sharp

/ʃɑːp/