General English


  • adjective (of a ball coming off the striker’s bat) potentially catchable, but only with great difficulty; a ‘sharp chance’ is one that is difficult to hold
    Citation ‘Mohsin … had failed to get his hand round both a sharp one and a sitter at slip to Qadir’ (Robin Marlar, Sunday Times 25 March 1984)
    Citation ‘The moment of aggression resulted in a sharp chance flying to third slip, which was gratefully accepted by Paul Collingwood’ (Angus Fraser, Independent 18 July 2006)
  • adjective denoting an opportunity to take a run which entails a high risk of one of the batsmen being run out
    Citation ‘Kevin Pietersen was then calm enough to use a sympathetic underarm throw to Sajid Mahmood … when Mohammad Sami reluctantly accepted Inzamam’s call for a sharp single’ (Steve James, Guardian 9 August 2006)
  • adjective relatively close to the line separating leg and off behind the striker’s wicket; fine
    Citation ‘The old-fashioned long leg hitting of George Parr is almost a thing of the past; so that long-leg should stand too square, rather than too sharp’ (Badminton 1888)


  • With a pungent, tart or acid flavour
  • adjective With a finely ground and honed edge. A really sharp knife should easily cut a ripe tomato without deformation using only a slight downward pressure.


  • adjective able to cut easily
  • adjective hurting in a sudden and intense way


  • adjective very clear


  • adjective having a thin edge which cuts easily


  • used to describe a wine that is too acidic, with a biting taste

Origin & History of “sharp”

Sharp, together with its close relatives German scharf, Dutch scherp, and Swedish and Danish skarp, goes back to a prehistoric Germanic *skarpaz. this was probably descended from an extension of the Indo-European base *sker- ‘cut’ (source of English score, share, shear, etc). Welsh has borrowed sharp as siarp.