Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

sharp - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

adjective sharp pronunciation in British English /ʃɑː(r)p/
Word Forms
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    a sharp object has an edge that can cut or an end that is pointed
    Cut the melon in half using a sharp knife.
    The cage should have no sharp edges that might cause injury.
    These scissors aren’t very sharp.
    sharp teeth/claws
    a sharp pencil
  2. 2
    a sharp change is sudden and very big
    a sharp rise/increase: Shops are reporting a sharp rise in sales of organic produce.
    a sharp decline/drop/fall: This month’s figures show a sharp drop in unemployment.
    1. a.
      a sharp bend changes direction suddenly
      As we approached a sharp bend in the road, the bus slowed down.
    2. b.
      a sharp pain is sudden and severe
      I felt a sharp pain in my foot.
    3. c.
      a sharp feeling is sudden and strong
      Lindsey felt a sharp pang of guilt.
    4. d.
      a sharp breath is taken suddenly, often because you are surprised
      There was a sharp intake of breath when the prizewinners were announced.
    5. e.
      a sharp sound is sudden and loud
      a sharp crack of gunfire
      a sharp cry of fear
  3. 3
    intelligent and quick to notice something or react to something
    Some of these kids are pretty sharp when it comes to maths.
    He has a sharp wit and a wicked sense of humour.
    keep a sharp eye/lookout on something: The Agency keeps a sharp eye on sales of arms abroad.
  4. 4
    clear and seen in a lot of detail
    The new high-definition TV offers razor-sharp pictures and digital sound.
  5. 5
    a sharp comment, voice, or expression shows that someone is unfriendly or annoyed
    My father shot her a sharp look but said nothing.
    Sharp words were exchanged.
    The deal has come under sharp criticism from the opposition parties.
  6. 6
    clearly recognized as different
    The warm weather was in sharp contrast to last year’s cold temperatures.
  7. 8
    informal fashionable and impressive
    a sharp dresser
    a sharp suit


derived word


noun [uncountable]


a fashion trend in which people intentionally wear ordinary, inexpensive, widely-available clothing

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


a flower or small bunch of flowers worn on the lapel of a jacket on special occasions

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog