Definition of acuity
: keenness of perception <hearing acuity> <mental acuity>
Examples of acuity in a sentence
<a worrisome deterioration in the acuity of his hearing over the years>
Do you have acuity or sensitivity?
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.
Origin and Etymology of acuity
Middle English acuite acridity, from Medieval French acuité, from Medieval Latin acuitat-, acuitas, from Latin acuere —see acute
First Known Use: circa 1549
ACUITY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of acuity for English Language Learners
: the ability to see, hear, or understand something easily
Seen and Heard
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