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

Examples from the Web for acuteness

Historical Examples of acuteness

  • I leave time and method of explanation to your own judgment and acuteness.

  • The acuteness of the pain in his head set his mind almost wandering.

    The Night Riders

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • You are very unjust to both of us if you imply that I have not a high opinion of your acuteness.

    Tony Butler

    Charles James Lever

  • Men like the problem that they fancy they have unravelled by their own acuteness.

  • Now that I look back I am more than ever impressed by Stroeve's acuteness.

    The Moon and Sixpence

    W. Somerset Maugham

British Dictionary definitions for acuteness



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 acuteness



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

acuteness 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.

acuteness 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.