[ uhb-toos, -tyoos ]
/ əbˈtus, -ˈtyus /


not quick or alert in perception, feeling, or intellect; not sensitive or observant; dull.
not sharp, acute, or pointed; blunt in form.
(of a leaf, petal, etc.) rounded at the extremity.
indistinctly felt or perceived, as pain or sound.

Nearby words

  1. obturator crest,
  2. obturator foramen,
  3. obturator hernia,
  4. obturator nerve,
  5. obturator vein,
  6. obtuse angle,
  7. obtuse bisectrix,
  8. obtuse triangle,
  9. obtusely,
  10. obtusion

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 forms
Can be confusedabstruse obtuse

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for obtuse

British Dictionary definitions for obtuse


/ (əbˈtjuːs) /


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

Word Origin for obtuse

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 obtuse



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

Medicine definitions for obtuse


[ ŏb-tōōs, əb- ]


Lacking quickness of perception or intellect.
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.