Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A fine-grained whetstone for giving a keen edge to a cutting tool.
  • noun A tool with a rotating abrasive tip for enlarging holes to precise dimensions.
  • transitive verb To sharpen on a fine-grained whetstone.
  • transitive verb To perfect or make more intense or effective.
  • intransitive verb To whine or moan.
  • intransitive verb To hanker; yearn.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A stone used for sharpening instruments that require a delicate edge, and particularly for sharpening razors; an oilstone. A hone differs from a whetstone in being of finer grit and more compact texture. See honestone.
  • noun A thin piece of dry and stale bread; also, an oil-cake.
  • To rub and sharpen on or as on a hone: as, to hone a razor.
  • To pine; long; yearn; moan.
  • To long for; crave.
  • noun A kind of swelling in the cheek.
  • noun A circular barrow or hill.
  • A dialectal contraction of hosen, plural of hose.
  • See och hone.
  • noun Delay; lingering.
  • To linger; delay.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A kind of swelling in the cheek.
  • noun A stone of a fine grit, or a slab, as of metal, covered with an abrading substance or powder, used for sharpening cutting instruments, and especially for setting razors; an oilstone.
  • noun See Polishing slate.
  • noun one of several kinds of stone used for hones. See Novaculite.
  • transitive verb To sharpen on, or with, a hone; to rub on a hone in order to sharpen.
  • transitive verb to render more precise or more effective.
  • intransitive verb Dial.Eng. & Southern U. S. To grumble; pine; lament; long.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A sharpening stone composed of extra-fine grit used for removing the burr or curl from the blade of a razor or some other edge tool.
  • noun A machine tool used in the manufacture of precision bores.
  • verb To sharpen with a hone.
  • verb To use a hone to produce a precision bore.
  • verb To refine or master (a skill).
  • verb To make more acute, intense, or effective.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb sharpen with a hone
  • noun a whetstone made of fine gritstone; used for sharpening razors
  • verb make perfect or complete

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old English hān, stone; see kō- in Indo-European roots. Hone in, alteration of home in.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Obsolete French hoigner, from Old French, perhaps from hon, cry of discontent.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English hon ‘whetstone’, from Old English hān, from Proto-Germanic *hainō (compare Dutch heen, Norwegian hein), from Proto-Indo-European *ḱeh₃i- ‘to sharpen’ (compare Greek κώνος (kṓnos) ‘cone’, Persian sān ‘whetstone’).

Examples

  • Mays, I use the word hone, Mays practiced being Mays.

    Oral History Interview with Hylan Lewis, January 13, 1991. Interview A-0361. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)

  • (In the past, he's also offered fish such as sayori, needlefish, and hamo, daggertooth conger pike, an eel-like summer-season thing so bony that no one could figure out how to eat it until the people of Kyoto devised a special technique called hone-giri, to which Takayama-san has added variations of his own.)

    If You Knew Sushi

  • (In the past, he's also offered fish such as sayori, needlefish, and hamo, daggertooth conger pike, an eel-like summer-season thing so bony that no one could figure out how to eat it until the people of Kyoto devised a special technique called hone-giri, to which Takayama-san has added variations of his own.)

    If You Knew Sushi

  • Sunnen has launched the HTA actuator hone, which is said to be ideal for cylinder surfacing and engineered for production of gas-meter tubes as well as light-duty metal removal applications.

    Manufacturingtalk - manufacturing industry news

  • Sunnen has launched the HTA actuator hone, which is said to be ideal for cylinder surfacing and engineered for production of gas-meter tubes as well as light-duty metal removal applications.

    Manufacturingtalk - manufacturing industry news

  • (In the past, he's also offered fish such as sayori, needlefish, and hamo, daggertooth conger pike, an eel-like summer-season thing so bony that no one could figure out how to eat it until the people of Kyoto devised a special technique called hone-giri, to which Takayama-san has added variations of his own.)

    How Now Brownpau

  • I 'hone' my skills with flower purchases at the supermarket or farmer's market and torture my husband by carving up my purchases in our sink.

    In a Second Life

  • For a guy who loves baseball and has loved it his whole life, this is a dream opportunity for me, to kind of hone in on a franchise and build it the way I see fit.

    Nationals promote, extend Mike Rizzo

  • And what comes out of my head, we write down and I kind of hone into a bit.

    Comedian Robert Klein Plays 'Not My Job'

  • Up towards the Great Lakes, a cold air at the surface, it's snow but closer to the Gulf Coast and into portions of the Ohio Valley, it's mainly a rain even, but let's really kind of hone in on what you have at the great lakes.

    CNN Transcript Feb 21, 2009

Comments

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  • ...the bereaved Parnassian

    hones a canine tooth,

    sharpens a pencil.

    - Peter Reading, Minima, from Diplopic, 1983

    June 30, 2008

  • Many authorities consider "hone in" to be incorrect usage. I know I do. My preference is "home in."

    October 27, 2010