Definition of sharp adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ʃɑːp//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ʃɑːrp//
    (sharper, sharpest) Clever, Describing clothes, Reading music
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  1. 1  having a fine edge or point, especially of something that can cut or make a hole in something a sharp knife sharp teeth opposite blunt
  2. rise/drop/change
  3. 2  [usually before noun] sudden and rapid, especially of a change in something a sharp drop in prices a sharp rise in crime a sharp increase in unemployment He heard a sharp intake of breath. We need to give young criminals a short, sharp shock (= a punishment that is very unpleasant for a short time).
  4. clear/definite
  5. 3  [usually before noun] clear and definite a sharp outline The photograph is not very sharp (= there are no clear contrasts between areas of light and shade). She drew a sharp distinction between domestic and international politics. In sharp contrast to her mood, the clouds were breaking up to reveal a blue sky. The issue must be brought into sharper focus.
  6. mind/eyes
  7. 4  (of people or their minds, eyes, etc.) quick to notice or understand things or to react to have sharp eyes a girl of sharp intelligence a sharp sense of humour He kept a sharp lookout for any strangers. It was very sharp of you to see that! See related entries: Clever
  8. critical
  9. 5  (of a person or what they say) critical or severe sharp criticism Emma has a sharp tongue (= she often speaks in an unpleasant or unkind way). sharp with somebody He was very sharp with me when I was late.
  10. sounds
  11. 6  [usually before noun] loud, sudden and often high in tone She read out the list in sharp, clipped tones. There was a sharp knock on the door.
  12. feeling
  13. 7  (of a physical feeling or an emotion) very strong and sudden, often like being cut or wounded synonym intense He winced as a sharp pain shot through his leg. Polly felt a sharp pang of jealousy.
  14. curves
  15. 8  changing direction suddenly a sharp bend in the road a sharp turn to the left
  16. flavour/smell
  17. 9  strong and slightly bitter The cheese has a distinctively sharp taste. Synonymsbitterpungent sour acrid sharp acidThese words all describe a strong, unpleasant taste or smell.bitter (of a taste or smell) strong and usually unpleasant; (of food or drink) having a bitter taste.pungent (of a smell or taste) strong and usually unpleasant; (of food or smoke) having a pungent smell or taste:the pungent smell of burning rubbersour (of a taste) bitter like the taste of a lemon or of fruit that is not ripe; (of food or drink) having a sour taste:Too much pulp produces a sour wine.acrid (of a smell or taste) strong and unpleasant; (of smoke) having an acrid smell:acrid smoke from burning tyressharp (of a taste or smell) strong and slightly bitter; (of food or drink) having a sharp taste:The cheese has a distinctively sharp taste.acid (of a taste or smell) bitter, like the taste of a lemon or of fruit that is not ripe; (of food or drink) having an acid taste.which word? A bitter taste is usually unpleasant, but some people enjoy the bitter flavour of coffee or chocolate. No other word can describe this flavour. A sharp or pungent flavour is more strong than unpleasant, especially when describing cheese. Sharp, sour and acid all describe the taste of a lemon or a fruit that is not ripe. An acrid smell is strong and unpleasant, especially the smell of smoke or burning, but not the smell of food.Patterns a(n) bitter/​pungent/​sour/​acrid/​sharp/​acid taste/​flavour a(n) bitter/​pungent/​acrid/​sharp/​acid smell/​odour a(n) bitter/​sour/​sharp/​acid fruit pungent/​sharp cheese pungent/​acrid smoke
  18. frost/wind
  19. 10  used to describe a very cold or very severe frost or wind see also razor-sharp
  20. clever and dishonest
  21. 11(disapproving) (of a person or their way of doing business) clever but possibly dishonest His lawyer's a sharp operator. The firm had to face some sharp practice from competing companies.
  22. clothes
  23. 12[usually before noun] (of clothes or the way somebody dresses) fashionable and new The consultants were a group of men in sharp suits. Todd is a sharp dresser. See related entries: Describing clothes
  24. face/features
  25. 13not full or round in shape a man with a thin face and sharp features (= a pointed nose and chin)
  26. in music
  27. 14 used after the name of a note to mean a note a semitone / half step higher the Piano Sonata in C sharp minor opposite flat compare natural See related entries: Reading music
  28. 15 above the correct pitch (= how high or low a note sounds) That note sounded sharp. opposite flat
  29. Word OriginOld English sc(e)arp, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch scherp and German scharf.Extra examples Her voice sounded rather sharp. Raw cranberries are extremely sharp and must always be cooked with a little sugar. She was quite sharp with me when I talked during her lecture. That note was slightly sharp. The picture is surprisingly sharp and clear. This cheese has a slightly sharp flavour. a display of wickedly sharp teeth a fairly sharp rise in the cost of living a razor sharp mind Careful—the kittens have razor-sharp teeth Emma has a sharp tongue. He has been exchanging sharp words with his architect. He heard a sharp intake of breath. His lawyer’s a sharp operator. Take a sheet of paper and a sharp pencil. The air had a sharp sooty smell. The dog bared his long sharp teeth. The photograph is not very sharp. The sky was dark, with only the outlines of dockside warehouses standing sharp on the skyline. There has been a sharp drop in prices. We need to give young criminals a short, sharp shock. You’ll need a really sharp knife for this job.Idioms (British English, informal) used in orders to tell somebody to be quick or to hurry You'd better look sharp or you'll be late.
    not the sharpest knife in the drawer, not the sharpest tool in the box
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    (informal, humorous) not intelligent He's not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer, is he?
    the sharp end (of something)
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    (British English, informal) the place or position of greatest difficulty or responsibility He started work at the sharp end of the business, as a salesman.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: sharp