hone(redirected from hones)
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1. A fine-grained whetstone for giving a keen edge to a cutting tool.
2. A tool with a rotating abrasive tip for enlarging holes to precise dimensions.
tr.v. honed, hon·ing, honesPhrasal Verb:
1. To sharpen on a fine-grained whetstone.
2. To perfect or make more intense or effective: a speaker who honed her delivery by long practice.
hone in Usage Problem
1. To move or advance toward a target or goal: The missiles honed in on the military installation.
2. To focus the attention or make progress achieving an objective: The lawyer honed in on the gist of the plaintiff's testimony.
[Middle English, from Old English hān, stone; see kō- in Indo-European roots. Hone in, alteration of home in.]
Usage Note: The verb home has been used to mean "to return home" (what homing pigeons do) since the 1920s. The introduction of radar in World War II gave it the related meaning "to return home by following a beam or landmark" and then "to find a target via a beam or signal," as when pilots and aircraft homed on a target. In the 1950s the verb was extended to the figurative sense "to narrow attention on" and in was added, so the expression became home in on. A decade later hone in on, containing the verb meaning "to sharpen," began to be used in the same sense. Presumably the substitution was encouraged both by the similarity in sound and the overlap in metaphorical meaning: sharpening one's focus made as much sense as directing it homeward. Whatever its origin, hone in, despite being common, is often viewed as a mistake. In our 2015 survey, 36 percent of the Usage Panel disapproved of the example Direct mail allows you to hone in on your target audience, and 40 percent would not accept The purpose of the meeting was to hone in on strategies for improving the company's performance. If you prefer to employ the more widely accepted idiom, stick with home in or use zero in.
intr.v. honed, hon·ing, hones Informal
1. To whine or moan.
2. To hanker; yearn.
[Obsolete French hoigner, from Old French, perhaps from hon, cry of discontent.]
1. (Tools) a fine whetstone, esp for sharpening razors
2. (Tools) a tool consisting of a number of fine abrasive slips held in a machine head, rotated and reciprocated to impart a smooth finish to cylinder bores, etc
(Mechanical Engineering) (tr) to sharpen or polish with or as if with a hone
[Old English hān stone; related to Old Norse hein]
Usage: Hone is sometimes wrongly used where home is meant: this device makes it easier to home in on (not hone in on) the target
1. (often foll by: for or after) to yearn or pine
2. to moan or grieve
[C17: from Old French hogner to growl, probably of Germanic origin; compare Old High German hōnen to revile]
n., v. honed, hon•ing. n.
1. a whetstone of fine, compact texture for sharpening razors and other cutting tools.
2. a tool with a mechanically rotated abrasive tip for enlarging holes to precise dimensions.v.t.
3. to sharpen on a hone.
4. to enlarge or finish (a hole) with a hone.
5. to make more acute or effective: to hone one's skills.
[before 950; Middle English (n.); Old English hān stone, rock; c. Old Norse hein hone]
v.i. honed, hon•ing.
1. South Midland and Southern U.S. to yearn; long.
2. Archaic. to moan; groan.
[1590–1600; < Anglo-French *honer; Old French hogner to grumble, growl < Germanic; compare Old Saxon hōnian to abuse, revile]
Past participle: honed
Switch to new thesaurus
|Noun||1.||hone - a whetstone made of fine gritstone; used for sharpening razors|
whetstone - a flat stone for sharpening edged tools or knives
|Verb||1.||hone - sharpen with a hone; "hone a knife"|
sharpen - make sharp or sharper; "sharpen the knives"
set - give a fine, sharp edge to a knife or razor
|2.||hone - make perfect or complete; "perfect your French in Paris!"|
ameliorate, improve, meliorate, amend, better - to make better; "The editor improved the manuscript with his changes"
1. improve, better, polish, enhance, upgrade, refine, sharpen, augment, help honing the skills of senior managers