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To grow ripe; to become mature enough to harvest or pick. Make sure you plant your tomatoes in a spot that gets plenty of sunshine, or else it will take a whole lot longer for them to ripen up.
ripen into (something)
1. Of a food, to become ripe or mature over time and enter into a new form, state, or condition. We must first press the curds to get rid of excess moisture before they begin ripening into cheese. Bees mix a special secretion with the nectar as they collect it from flowers. They then deposit the mixture into the combs of the hive, and it eventually ripens into honey.
2. Of a person, to change, develop, or mature over time until one enters into a new state, condition, or type of person. She was pretty brash and headstrong when she first took over the company, but she has ripened into a strong, reliable, and steady-handed leader over the last 10 years. As he ripened into adulthood, Jake left much of his boyish wonder and naïveté behind.
3. Of a situation or circumstance, to grow or develop into some new, more complex or deep-seated state or condition. Many believe the rumblings of the population are going to ripen into full-blown rebellion. Any relationship will have its highs and lows, but those couples who can communicate effectively and look past their own individual insecurities will eventually ripen into strong, happy unions.
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ripen into something
1. Lit. to ripen and become something recognizable. This little green ball will ripen into an apple.
2. Fig. to mature into something. This problem is going to ripen into a real crisis if we don't do something about it right now. The small matter ripened into a large problem in a short time.
See also: ripen