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From Middle English sharpnesse, scharpnesse, from Old English sċearpnes (sharpness), equivalent to sharp +‎ -ness.


sharpness (countable and uncountable, plural sharpnesses)

  1. (uncountable) the cutting ability of an edge; keenness.
  2. (uncountable) the fineness of the point a pointed object.
  3. (countable) The product or result of being sharp.
    • 1950 April, Timothy H. Cobb, “The Kenya-Uganda Railway”, in Railway Magazine, page 263:
      The first thing that strikes the stranger is the sharpness of the curves on the metre gauge; it is not unusual for a long train to be travelling in three directions at once, and the engine is frequently in full view of the windows of the ninth or tenth carriage.
  4. (of food etc) pungency or acidity.
  5. (of an image) distinctness, focus.
  6. (of intelligence) acuteness or acuity.
    • 2012 June 19, Phil McNulty, “England 1-0 Ukraine”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      A lack of match sharpness was perhaps to blame for Rooney squandering England's best chance after 27 minutes.
  7. (obsolete) edge or blade
    • 1760, John Marchant, Gent. Mr. Gordon, Daniel Bellamy, and others., A New Complete English Dictionary...[2]:
      CUT-WATER, or KNEE OF THE HEAD [S.] the ſharpneſs of the head of the ſhip, below the beak;
    • ca. 1395, John Wycliffe et al., Joshua 6:21[3]:
      also thei smytiden bi the scharpnesse of swerd, oxun, and scheep, and assis.



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