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keen 1

adj. keen·er, keen·est
1. Having a fine, sharp cutting edge or point.
2. Having or marked by intellectual quickness and acuity. See Synonyms at sharp.
3. Acutely sensitive: a keen ear.
4. Sharp; vivid; strong: "His entire body hungered for keen sensation, something exciting" (Richard Wright).
5. Intense or bracing: a keen wind.
6. Pungent; acrid: A keen smell of skunk was left behind.
a. Ardent; enthusiastic: a keen chess player.
b. Eagerly desirous: keen on going to Europe in the spring.
8. Slang Great; splendid; fine: What a keen day!

[Middle English kene, from Old English cēne, brave.]

keen′ly adv.
keen′ness n.

keen 2

A loud wailing or lament for the dead.
intr.v. keened, keen·ing, keens
To wail in lamentation, especially for the dead. See Synonyms at cry.

[From Irish Gaelic caoineadh, from caonim, I lament, from Old Irish caínim, coínim, perhaps of Brittonic origin.]

keen′er n.


informal Canadian a person, esp a student, who is keen, enthusiastic, or zealous
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References in classic literature ?
He seemed conscious of possessing a keener power of enjoyment than other people; his quick recognitions made him frantically impatient of deliberate judgments.
Let us retrace our steps, and examine as we go, with keener eyes.
As one of its effects, it bestowed on his countenance a quicker mobility than the old Englishman's had possessed, and keener vivacity, but at the expense of a sturdier something, on which these acute endowments seemed to act like dissolving acids.
I think Henrique, now, has a keener sense of the beauty of truth, from seeing lying and deception the universal badge of slavery.
And now I looked much better than I did when Bessie saw me; I had more colour and more flesh, more life, more vivacity, because I had brighter hopes and keener enjoyments.
As Carton walked in, took his seat and asked (in very indifferent French) for a small measure of wine, Madame Defarge cast a careless glance at him, and then a keener, and then a keener, and then advanced to him herself, and asked him what it was he had ordered.
There was one person, as you will believe, who watched with keener though more hidden interest than any other, the prosperous growth of Eppie under the weaver's care.
The habits of intercourse, on the basis of equal privileges, to which we have been accustomed since the earliest settlement of the country, would give a keener edge to those causes of discontent than they would naturally have independent of this circumstance.
Darcy's shameful boast of what misery he had been able to inflict gave her a keener sense of her sister's sufferings.
But, though the clergyman might have given his moral even a keener point, he did not fail to dispatch an attendant to inquire into the mystery, and stop those sounds, so dismally appropriate to such a marriage.
With this Menelaus left them, looking round him as keenly as an eagle, whose sight they say is keener than that of any other bird--however high he may be in the heavens, not a hare that runs can escape him by crouching under bush or thicket, for he will swoop down upon it and make an end of it--even so, O Menelaus, did your keen eyes range round the mighty host of your followers to see if you could find the son of Nestor still alive.
Without any particular affection for her eldest cousin, her tenderness of heart made her feel that she could not spare him, and the purity of her principles added yet a keener solicitude, when she considered how little useful, how little self-denying his life had (apparently) been.