Keen (?), a. [Compar. Keener (?); superl. Keenest.] [OE. kene sharp, bold, AS.cne bold; akin to D. koen, OHG. kuoni, G. kuhn, OSw. kyn, kon, Icel. kaenn, for koenn wise; perh. akin to E. ken, can to be able. 45. ]


Sharp; having a fine edge or point; as, a keen razor, or a razor with a keen edge.

A bow he bare and arwes [arrows] bright and kene. Chaucer.

That my keen knife see not the wound it makes. Shak.


Acute of mind; sharp; penetrating; having or expressing mental acuteness; as, a man of keen understanding; a keen look; keen features.

To make our wits more keen. Shak.

Before the keen inquiry of her thought. Cowper.


Bitter; piercing; acrimonious; cutting; stinging; severe; as, keen satire or sarcasm.

Good father cardinal, cry thou amen To my keen curses. Shak.


Piercing; penetrating; cutting; sharp; -- applied to cold, wind, etc, ; as, a keen wind; the cold is very keen.

Breasts the keen air, and carols as he goes. Goldsmith.


Eager; vehement; fierce; as, a keen appetite.

"Of full kene will."

Piers Plowman.

So keen and greedy to confound a man. Shak.

Keen is often used in the composition of words, most of which are of obvious signification; as, keen-edged, keen-eyed, keen-sighted, keen-witted, etc.

Syn. -- Prompt; eager; ardent; sharp; acute; cutting; penetrating; biting; severe; sarcastic; satirical; piercing; shrewd.


© Webster 1913.

Keen, v. t.

To sharpen; to make cold.


Cold winter keens the brightening flood. Thomson.


© Webster 1913.

Keen, n. [Ir. caoine.]

A prolonged wail for a deceased person. Cf. Coranach.




© Webster 1913.

Keen, v. i.

To wail as a keener does.



© Webster 1913.

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