A Dictionary of the English Language
                        A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson
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Keen (adjective)

View Scan · View Transcription · from pages 1145, 1146

View Scan · View Transcription · from pages 1145, 1146

Keen. adj. [cn, Saxon; kuhn, German; koen, Dutch.]

  1. Sharp; well edged; not blunt.

                  Come thick night
    That my keen knife see not the wound it makes.

            Here is my keen-edged sword,
    Deck'd with fine flower-de-luces on each side.

    To me the cries of fighting fields are charms,
    Keen be my sabre, and of proof my arms.

    A sword keen-edg'd within his right he held,
    The warlike emblem of the conquer'd field.

  2. Severe; piercing.

                            The winds
    Blow moist, and keen, shattering the graceful locks
    Of these fair spreading trees; which bids us seek
    Some better shroud.
    Milton's Par. Lost, b. x.

    The cold was very supportable; but as it changed to the north-west, or north, it became excessively keen. Ellis.

  3. Eager; vehement.

                  Never did I know
    A creature, that did bear the shape of man,
    So keen and greedy to confound a man.

    Keen dispatch of real hunger. Milton.

    The sheep were so keen upon the acorns, that they gobbled up a piece of the coat. L'Estrange.

    Those curs are so extremely hungry, that they are too keen at the sport, and worry their game. Tatler, № 62

    This was a prospect so very inviting, that it could not be easily withstood by any who have so keen an appetite for wealth. Swift's Miscel.

  4. Acrimonious; bitter of mind.

    Good father cardinal, cry thou, amen,
    To my keen curses.
    Shakesp. King John.

    I have known some of these absent officers as keen against Ireland, as if they had never been indebted to her. Swift.

Sources: Dryden, John (788) · Ellis, Henry (2) · Shakespeare's Henry VI, Part 1 (48) · Shakespeare's King John (43) · L'Estrange, Roger (131) · Shakespeare's Macbeth (136) · Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice (83) · Milton, John (449) · Swift, Jonathan (306) · Tatler (23)

Attributes: Adjective (426) · Dutch (90) · German (30) · Saxon (215)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Keen (adjective)." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: February 17, 2014. https://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/keen-adjective/.

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