9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[hohn] /hoʊn/
a whetstone of fine, compact texture for sharpening razors and other cutting tools.
a precision tool with a mechanically rotated abrasive tip, for enlarging holes to precise dimensions.
verb (used with object), honed, honing.
to sharpen on a hone:
to hone a carving knife.
to enlarge or finish (a hole) with a hone.
to make more acute or effective; improve; perfect:
to hone one's skills.
Origin of hone1
before 950; Middle English (noun); Old English hān stone, rock; cognate with Old Norse hein hone; akin to cone
Related forms
honer, noun


[hohn] /hoʊn/
verb (used without object), honed, honing.
South Midland and Southern U.S. to yearn; long:
to hone for the farm life; to hone after peach pie.
Archaic. to moan and groan.
1590-1600; < Anglo-French *honer; Old French hogner to grumble, growl < Germanic; compare Old Saxon hōnian to abuse, revile Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for honing
  • Companies are holding shareholder audits and honing their media playbooks.
  • But many products are not widely available or still need honing.
  • Oddly, honing their old-fashioned physical products may help media firms adapt to technological change.
  • The rest goes on giving it a distinctive body and cabin, while honing the brakes, steering and suspension.
  • Every stand-up comedian develops a unique method for honing jokes.
  • There is no real argument, no honing of positions, no gathering of wisdom-and no movement toward good policy.
  • Everyone has their methods-pieces of a repertoire, so to speak-and spend time practicing and honing them.
  • As a historian, my pedagogical goals focus on honing cognitive skills through the tool of history.
  • They too are honing career skills for a one-in-a-million shot at becoming fabulously wealthy.
  • Time spent studying a language was time not committed directly to honing my tactical knowledge.
British Dictionary definitions for honing


a fine whetstone, esp for sharpening razors
a tool consisting of a number of fine abrasive slips held in a machine head, rotated and reciprocated to impart a smooth finish to cylinder bores, etc
(transitive) to sharpen or polish with or as if with a hone
Usage note
Hone is sometimes wrongly used where home is meant: this device makes it easier to home in on (not hone in on) the target
Word Origin
Old English hān stone; related to Old Norse hein


verb (intransitive) (dialect)
often foll by for or after. to yearn or pine
to moan or grieve
Word Origin
C17: from Old French hogner to growl, probably of Germanic origin; compare Old High German hōnen to revile
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for honing



"whetstone," Old English han "stone, rock, (boundary) stone," in Middle English "whetstone" (early 14c.), from Proto-Germanic *haino (cf. Old Norse hein "hone"). The verb is 1788, from the noun. Related: Honed; honing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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