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obtuse

[uh b-toos, -tyoos]
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adjective
  1. not quick or alert in perception, feeling, or intellect; not sensitive or observant; dull.
  2. not sharp, acute, or pointed; blunt in form.
  3. (of a leaf, petal, etc.) rounded at the extremity.
  4. indistinctly felt or perceived, as pain or sound.

Origin of obtuse

1500–10; < Latin obtūsus dulled (past participle of obtundere), equivalent to ob- ob- + tūd-, variant stem of tundere to beat + -tus past participle suffix, with dt > s
Related formsob·tuse·ly, adverbob·tuse·ness, nounsub·ob·tuse, adjectivesub·ob·tuse·ly, adverbsub·ob·tuse·ness, noun
Can be confusedabstruse obtuse

Synonyms

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1. unfeeling, tactless, insensitive; blind, imperceptive, unobservant; gauche, boorish; slow, dim.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for obtuseness

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • My besetting fear was that I couldn't count on her obtuseness.

  • We had not, however, taken into account the obtuseness of a barbaric despot.

    Freeland

    Theodor Hertzka

  • As soon as he had taken up a business, his obtuseness vanished.

    Howards End

    E. M. Forster

  • Oswald marveled at the obtuseness of this eminent barrister.

    Oswald Langdon

    Carson Jay Lee

  • Besides, that one particular area of obtuseness was a real part of his charm.

    Masters of Space

    Edward Elmer Smith


British Dictionary definitions for obtuseness

obtuse

adjective
  1. mentally slow or emotionally insensitive
  2. maths
    1. (of an angle) lying between 90° and 180°
    2. (of a triangle) having one interior angle greater than 90°
  3. not sharp or pointed
  4. indistinctly felt, heard, etc; dullobtuse pain
  5. (of a leaf or similar flat part) having a rounded or blunt tip
Derived Formsobtusely, adverbobtuseness, noun

Word Origin

C16: from Latin obtūsus dulled, past participle of obtundere to beat down; see obtund
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

Word Origin and History for obtuseness

obtuse

adj.

early 15c., "dull, blunted," from Middle French obtus (fem. obtuse), from Latin obtusus "blunted, dull," also used figuratively, past participle of obtundere "to beat against, make dull," from ob "against" (see ob-) + tundere "to beat," from PIE *(s)tud-e- "to beat, strike, push, thrust," from root *(s)teu- "to push, stick, knock, beat" (cf. Latin tudes "hammer," Sanskrit tudati "he thrusts"). Sense of "stupid" is first found c.1500. Related: Obtusely; obtuseness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

obtuseness in Medicine

obtuse

(ŏb-tōōs, əb-)
adj.
  1. Lacking quickness of perception or intellect.
  2. Not sharp or acute; blunt.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.