Definition of acuity
- hearing acuity
- mental acuity
a worrisome deterioration in the acuity of his hearing over the years
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'acuity.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Acuity is nearly synonymous with at least one sense of sensitivity, yet, as is so often the case with closely-related words, there are subtle differences worth observing before you substitute one of these words for the other. Acuity does refer to a form of sensitivity, but it is most often applied to the perceptual senses (as in “visual acuity” or “auditory acuity”). It is also frequently used in reference to the intellect (as in “mental acuity”). Sensitivity has a broader range of meanings than acuity does, including “the capacity of being easily hurt.” It may be used of inanimate objects such as radios (“the sensitivity of the instruments was carefully calibrated”), a context in which acuity is unusual.
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