the acute accent.

Origin of acute

1560–70; < Latin acūtus sharpened, past participle of acuere (acū-, v. stem, akin to acus needle, ācer sharp + -tus past participle suffix)
Related formsa·cute·ly, adverba·cute·ness, nounhy·per·a·cute, adjectivehy·per·a·cute·ly, adverbhy·per·a·cute·ness, nounnon·a·cute, adjectivenon·a·cute·ly, adverbnon·a·cute·ness, nouno·ver·a·cute, adjectiveo·ver·a·cute·ly, adverbo·ver·a·cute·ness, nounsu·per·a·cute, adjectivesu·per·a·cute·ly, adverbsu·per·a·cute·ness, noun
Can be confusedacute chronic

Synonyms for acute

Synonym study

4. Acute, penetrating, shrewd imply a keenness of understanding, perception, or insight. Acute suggests particularly a clearness of perception and a realization of related meanings: an acute intellect. Penetrating adds the idea of depth of perception and a realization of implications: a wise and penetrating judgment. Shrewd adds the idea of knowing how to apply practically (or to one's own advantage) what one perceives and understands: wary and shrewd.

Antonyms for acute

1, 4, 5. dull. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for acutely

severely, keenly, suddenly

Examples from the Web for acutely

Contemporary Examples of acutely

Historical Examples of acutely

  • Now he was active, acutely aware of himself and all his wants.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • The parson was acutely moved for the anguish he had not probed.

    Meadow Grass

    Alice Brown

  • He was acutely conscious of the mist of which Hermione had thought.

    A Spirit in Prison

    Robert Hichens

  • At that moment the old painter must have been acutely conscious of his fall.

    His Masterpiece

    Emile Zola

  • When she caught hold of her fork she began to tremble so acutely that she let it fall again.


    Emile Zola

British Dictionary definitions for acutely



penetrating in perception or insight
sensitive to details; keen
of extreme importance; crucial
sharp or severe; intenseacute pain; an acute drought
having a sharp end or point
  1. (of an angle) less than 90°
  2. (of a triangle) having all its interior angles less than 90°
(of a disease)
  1. arising suddenly and manifesting intense severity
  2. of relatively short durationCompare chronic (def. 2)
  1. (of a vowel or syllable in some languages with a pitch accent, such as ancient Greek) spoken or sung on a higher musical pitch relative to neighbouring syllables or vowels
  2. of or relating to an accent (´) placed over vowels, denoting that the vowel is pronounced with higher musical pitch (as in ancient Greek), with a certain special quality (as in French), etcCompare (for senses 8a, 8b): grave, circumflex
(of a hospital, hospital bed, or ward) intended to accommodate short-term patients with acute illnesses


an acute accent
Derived Formsacutely, adverbacuteness, noun

Word Origin for acute

C14: from Latin acūtus, past participle of acuere to sharpen, from acus needle
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 acutely



late 14c., originally of fevers and diseases, "coming and going quickly" (opposed to a chronic), from Latin acutus "sharp, pointed," figuratively "shrill, penetrating; intelligent, cunning," past participle of acuere "sharpen" (see acuity). Meaning "sharp, irritating" is from early 15c. Meaning "intense" is from 1727. Related: Acutely; acuteness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

acutely in Medicine




Pointed at the end; sharp.
Of or relating to a disease or a condition with a rapid onset and a short, severe course.
Of or relating to a patient afflicted with such a disease.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

acutely in Science



Reacting readily to stimuli or impressions, as hearing or eyesight; sensitive.
Relating to an illness that has a rapid onset and follows a short but severe course. Compare chronic.
Having an acute angle.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.