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verb sharpen pronunciation in British English /ˈʃɑː(r)pən/ 
Word Forms
present tense
present participlesharpening
past tensesharpened
past participlesharpened
  1. 1
    [transitive] to make something such as a knife, tool, or pencil sharp
    Synonyms and related words for this sense of sharpen
  2. 2



    sharpen up

    [intransitive/transitive] to improve or make something improve

    The programme will give young athletes the chance to sharpen their skills.

  3. 3
    [intransitive/transitive] to become or to make something stronger or more noticeable

    His speech served only to sharpen the differences between the two men.


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