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keep a sharp lookout (for something or someone)

To remain vigilant or carefully watchful (for something or someone). They should be arriving any minute, so keep a sharp lookout. Keep a sharp lookout for a Christmas present we could give your mother. Keep a sharp lookout for the health inspector, we heard he'll be doing a surprise inspection someday soon.
See also: keep, lookout, sharp

sharp cookie

A particularly smart, witty, or clever person. Dan: "I'm having a heck of a time doing my taxes, I just don't understand it at all." Steve: "You should get in touch with my uncle, he's one sharp cookie!" We're always looking to hire sharp cookies like you.
See also: cookie, sharp

sharp practice

Underhanded, deceitful, cunning, or particularly sneaky practice, especially in business, that is technically within the scope of the law but which may be considered immoral or unethical. The investment banking sector has been tightly reined in by the government after the sharp practice that went unchecked for so many years and cost so many people their life savings.
See also: practice, sharp

short sharp shock

A fast, severe punishment. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. He needs a short sharp shock to persuade him to change his ways and give up that life of crime.
See also: sharp, shock, short


1. Literally, very sharp, like a razor. Stand back, that tool is razor-sharp! Please be careful cutting those vegetables with such a razor-sharp knife.
2. Particularly clear, perceptive, and/or intelligent. Victoria may seem quiet, but she always has these razor-sharp insights on the texts we're reading. The think tank is known for razor-sharp analysis of world affairs. A lot of people are funny, but she has razor-sharp wit.

at (some time) sharp

At an exact time, with the emphasis that one must not be late. We need to leave for the airport at 8 AM sharp tomorrow morning. Please be here at 6:30 sharp.
See also: sharp

be as sharp as a tack

To be intelligent and a quick-thinker. Ted's as sharp as a tack, so he'll find a solution to this problem. Of course Ellen is our valedictorian—she's as sharp as a tack.
See also: sharp, tack

at some time sharp

exactly at the time named. You must be here at noon sharp. The plane is expected to arrive at seven forty-five sharp.
See also: sharp, time

have a mind as sharp as a steel trap

Fig. to be very intelligent. She's a smart kid. Has a mind as sharp as a steel trap. They say the professor has a mind as sharp as a steel trap, but then why can't he figure out which bus to take in the morning?
See also: have, mind, sharp, steel, trap

sharp as a razor

1. very sharp. (*Also: as ~.) The penknife is sharp as a razor. The carving knife will have to be as sharp as a razor to cut through this gristle.
2. and sharp as a tack very sharp-witted or intelligent. (*Also: as ~.) The old man's senile, but his wife is as sharp as a razor. Sue configure things out from even the slightest hint. She's as sharp as a tack.
See also: razor, sharp

sharp tongue

Fig. an outspoken or harsh manner; a critical manner of speaking. He has quite a sharp tongue. Don't be totally unnerved by what he says or the way he says it.
See also: sharp, tongue

sharp wit

Fig. a good and fast ability to make jokes and funny comments. Terry has a sharp wit and often makes cracks that force people to laugh aloud at inappropriate times.
See also: sharp, wit

throw something into sharp relief

Fig. [for something] to make something plainly evident or clearly visible. The dull, plain background threw the ornate settee into sharp relief. The red vase was thrown into sharp relief against the black background.
See also: relief, sharp, throw

(as) sharp as a tack

very intelligent He may be old in years, but he's still as sharp as a tack and knows what he's talking about.
See also: sharp, tack

keep an eye out for somebody/something

to watch carefully for someone or something to appear Keep an eye out for signposts for Yosemite.
See also: eye, keep, out

Look sharp!

1. (old-fashioned) something that you say in order to tell someone to hurry Look sharp! We have to leave in five minutes.
2. (mainly American) something that you say in order to warn someone about something Look sharp! That ladder isn't very steady.
See also: look

be as sharp as a tack

to be very intelligent He may be old, but he's still as sharp as a tack.
See also: sharp, tack

the sharp end

  (mainly British)
the sharp end of an activity or job is the most difficult part where problems are likely to happen (usually + of ) She enjoys the challenge of being at the sharp end of investment banking.
See Look sharp!
See also: end, sharp

a short sharp shock

  (British & Australian)
a type of punishment that is quick and severe What young offenders need is a short sharp shock that will frighten them into behaving more responsibly.
See also: sharp, shock, short

keep an eye out for

Also, keep a sharp lookout for. Be watchful for something or someone, as in Keep an eye out for the potholes in the road, or They told him to keep a sharp lookout for the police. The first expression, sometimes amplified to keep a sharp eye out for, dates from the late 1800s, the variant from the mid-1700s. Also see have one's eye on, def. 1; keep a weather eye; keep one's eyes open; look out.
See also: eye, keep, out

look sharp

Get moving, be alert, as in The coach told the team they would have to look sharp if they wanted to win. This colloquial expression, dating from the early 1700s, originally meant "to keep a strict watch" but acquired its present sense in the early 1800s.
See also: look, sharp

sharp as a tack

Also, sharp as a razor. Mentally acute. For example, She's very witty-she's sharp as a tack. These similes are also used literally to mean "having a keen cutting edge" and have largely replaced the earlier sharp as a needle or thorn. The first dates from about 1900, the variant from the mid-1800s.
See also: sharp, tack

sharp practice

Crafty or deceitful dealings, especially in business. For example, That firm's known for its sharp practice, so I'd rather not deal with them. This expression, first recorded in 1836, uses sharp in the combined sense of "mentally acute" and "cutting."
See also: practice, sharp

all sharped up

mod. dressed up; looking sharp. Chuckie, my man, you are totally sharped up.
See also: all, sharp, up


1. mod. clever; intelligent. She’s sharp enough to see right through everything you say.
2. mod. good-looking; well-dressed. That’s a sharp set of wheels you got there.
References in periodicals archive ?
Sharper, 39, wearing a striped, light blue suit, said he was entering the plea because it was in his best interest.
Sharper was taken to a Los Angeles jail for booking and processing.
NASDAQ: ICON) purchased the Sharper Image brand in October 2011.
Sharper Image, the retail chain that had been under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection since February, was purchased in June by a joint venture consisting of Hilco Consumer Capital, Gordon Brothers Brands and Bhiestar Alliance.
The thing is, the faster you try to take a turn and/or the sharper you try to make it--the more rapid or great the change in direction--the more centripetal force you need.
Sharper is currently in custody in Los Angeles, where he has pleaded not guilty to seven rape and drug counts in connection with two alleged attacks in Hollywood.
The new The Sharper Image[R] and 2COOL[R]ergonomic laptop stand and stylish workspace collections from RTA Products feature sleek, modern silhouettes that will revolutionize your daily grind.
I never walked out of a Sharper Image with a purchase, even though my sons and I spent lots of time fooling around with the merchandise.
Lewis, the reigning league defensive MVP, had a wonderful game but was no more magnificent than Sharper, who contributed a team-high nine tackles, seven of them unassisted.
LAS VEGAS -- The Sharper Image's licensee SI Products, well known for cutting-edge technology and design excellence, will unveil a highly anticipated array of innovative new home audio products at the upcoming CES Show in Las Vegas.
Sharper, 38, also is under investigation in sexual assault cases in Florida, Nevada and Arizona and has pleaded not guilty to rape charges in Los Angeles.
25 /PRNewswire/ -- The Sharper Image is significantly expanding its marketing initiatives for 2010 with a major push during the holiday season which includes; the launch of a national television advertising campaign, prominent billboards in New York City's Times Square, sports arena signage, freeway billboards and brand signage in high traffic airports.
NEW YORK -- What does the future hold for Sharper Image?
Customers can exchange valid Sharper Image gift cards at any one of Brookstone's 316 stores nationwide and receive the instant 25 percent discount off their purchase.
SAN FRANCISCO -- Sharper Image Corporation (NASDAQ:SHRP) today announced that it has signed a multi-year licensing agreement with MerchSource, LLC, a leading supplier of consumer merchandise.