Simple Definition of obtuse
: stupid or unintelligent : not able to think clearly or to understand what is obvious or simple
mathematics : not ending in a sharp point : measuring between 90 degrees and 180 degrees
Full Definition of obtuse
1 a : not pointed or acute : blunt b (1) of an angle : exceeding 90 degrees but less than 180 degrees (2) : having an obtuse angle <an obtuse triangle> — see triangle illustration c of a leaf : rounded at the free end
Examples of obtuse in a sentence
Murdoch's art, like all good art, is highly structured and controlled—a house neat and clean enough to satisfy the most morally obtuse of her upper-class British characters. —Martha C. Nussbaum, New Republic, 31 Dec. 2001 & 7 Jan. 2002
Only the most obtuse missed the main message: humans risked so distorting the natural order that they were sentencing themselves to be destroyed by frost or furnace. —Joseph A. Amato, Dust, 2000
In fact, he was too obtuse even to realize that his assignment to Tejas was a demotion … —James A. Michener, Texas, 1985
… either he, and the other people in his shop, and two people I subsequently ask are incapable of giving directions, or I am too rattled and obtuse to follow them, but I cannot find the police station. —Renata Adler, Pitch Dark, 1983
He is too obtuse to take a hint.
<obtuse scissors designed so that young users will not cut themselves>
Did You Know?
Obtuse, which comes to us from the Latin word obtusus, meaning "dull" or "blunt," can describe an angle that is not acute or a person who has a "dull" or insensitive mind. The word has also developed a somewhat controversial third sense of "hard to comprehend," probably as a result of confusion with "abstruse." It is now possible to speak of "obtuse language" and "obtuse explanations," as well as "obtuse angles" and "obtuse readers." This sense of "obtuse" is well established, but it may attract some criticism. If you're hesitant about using new meanings of words, you should probably stick with "abstruse" when you want a word meaning "difficult to understand."
Synonym Discussion of obtuse
Rhymes with obtuse
Aarhus, abstruse, abuse, adduce, Atreus, blue spruce, burnoose, caboose, Cayuse, Cepheus, ceruse, charmeuse, chartreuse, Chartreuse, conduce, couscous, cut loose, deduce, diffuse, disuse, educe, effuse, excuse, fair use, footloose, hang loose, induce, Lanús, misuse, mongoose, Morpheus, negus, Orpheus, papoose, Peleus, Perseus, prepuce, produce, profuse, Proteus, Purus, recluse, red spruce, reduce, refuse, retuse, reuse, Sanctus, seduce, slip noose, snow goose, Tereus, Theseus, traduce, transduce, turn loose, unloose, vamoose
OBTUSE Defined for Kids
Definition of obtuse for Students
1 : measuring more than a right angle
2 : not able to understand something obvious
Medical Definition of obtuse
1: lacking sharpness or quickness of sensibility or intellect
2: not pointed or acute <obtuse pain>
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up obtuse? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).