Middle English Dictionary Entry

sharpnes(se n.
Quotations: Show all Hide all

Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

1.
(a) Sharpness, keenness; also fig.; also, prickliness; (b) the sharp point of a spear, knife, etc.; the sharp edge of a sword, an ax, or a surgical instrument; the tapered end of an egg or the heart; the edge of the shoulder blade or the shinbone; also, a ridge or line of bones in the foot; also, a needle [quot.: *Medulla]; (c) jaggedness; roughness; a jagged piece of bone; a raised eruption on the face; sharpnesses of mani wateres, ?rough waters; ston of merveillous ~, a rocky place of great ruggedness, specifically the stronghold Aornos.
2.
(a) Austerity; rigor; hardship; pl. mortifications; ~ of mete (clothes, clothing); ~ of penaunce (lif, religioun); (b) harshness, severity; (c) ferocity, fierceness; ~ of bodi, ?physical strength; (d) bitterness; asperity, acrimony.
3.
(a) Acumen, intelligence; also, visual acuity or keenness; ~ of felinge, sensitivity to stimuli; (b) swiftness, fleetness; (c) accuracy.
4.
(a) Sharp pain, painfulness; also fig.; turnen ~, ?to alleviate discomfort; (b) the intensity of heat or cold; (c) ?intensity of color; also, ?distinctiveness of shape.
5.
(a) Sharpness or pungency of flavor or taste; (b) pungency or intensity of odor; (c) the high-pitched sound or quality of the voice.
6.
(a) Physiol. & pathol. Acridity, corrosiveness; ?also, virulence, aggressiveness [quot.: Chauliac(2)]; (b) causticity, harshness; also, poisonousness, ability to poison [last quot.].

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • ?1482 Rev.Monk Eynsham2405 : Y am constrayned ful sore to sofyr the scarpnes of colde.
  • Note: Additional quot., sense 4.(b).

Supplemental Materials (draft)

Note: Med., etc., see further J.Norri, Dictionary of Medical Vocabulary, s.v. sharpness.