Definition of acute
1a (1) : characterized by sharpness or severity acute pain (2) : having a sudden onset, sharp rise, and short course acute disease (3) : being, providing, or requiring short-term medical care (as for serious illness or traumatic injury) acute hospitals an acute patientb : lasting a short time acute experiments
2 : ending in a sharp point: such asa : being or forming an angle measuring less than 90 degrees an acute angleb : composed of acute angles an acute triangle
3a of an accent mark : having the form ´b : marked with an acute accentc : of the variety indicated by an acute accent
4a : marked by keen discernment or intellectual perception especially of subtle distinctions an acute thinkerb : responsive to slight impressions or stimuli acute hearing
5 : felt, perceived, or experienced intensely acute distress
6 : demanding urgent attention an acute emergency
Examples of acute in a sentence
an acute sense of humor
It's a politically acute film that does not oversimplify the issues.
Recent Examples of acute from the web
For foreign leaders, particularly those who depend on the United States for a security umbrella or as a market for their goods, Mr. Trump’s unreliability sets up an acute diplomatic challenge.
So there has been an acute and protracted shortage of cash as the government struggles to catch up.
Cholera is an acute bacterial disease that can cause uncontrollable diarrhea and kill within hours.
But the challenges facing the alliance are so acute that the tone was for the most part more urgent than reflective.
In Britain, this dynamic has been particularly acute.
Skeptics who still believe that Walton’s frailty was the result of an acute lack of heart, not congenital defects in his feet, may find such scenes self-serving.
The anger is particularly acute in Iceland, a tiny country of 330,000 people that was hammered by the financial crisis.
The problem is most acute in China’s less developed cities.
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Ways to be acute
For such a short and simple-looking word, acute has a rather bewildering range of meanings. It first entered the English language with a medical sense, referring to the sharpness or severity of a symptom. It retains this meaning today, but can also refer to the severity of more general matters, such as "acute embarrassment" or "an acute shortage."
Acute is also frequently used to describe less troublesome matters, such as keenness of perception ("an acute observer" or "an acute sense of smell"), a type of angle (one measuring less than 90 degrees), or the demand for urgent attention ("acute danger").
Origin and Etymology of acute
Middle English, from Latin acutus, past participle of acuere to sharpen, from acus needle; akin to Latin acer sharp — more at edge
First Known Use: 14th century
Synonym Discussion of acute
synonyms see in addition sharp
ACUTE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of acute for English Language Learners
: very serious or dangerous : requiring serious attention or action
: having or showing an ability to think clearly and to understand what is not obvious or simple about something
: very strong and sensitive : highly developed
ACUTE Defined for Kids
Definition of acute for Students
1 : measuring less than 90 degrees acute angles
2 : marked by or showing an ability to understand things that are not obvious an acute observation
4 : developing quickly and lasting only a short time acute illness
6 : very strong and sensitive an acute sense of smell
Medical Definition of acute
1: sensing or perceiving accurately, clearly, effectively, or sensitively acute vision
2a: characterized by sharpness or severity of sudden onset acute pain brought on by injury an acute infectionb (1): having a sudden onset, sharp rise, and short course acute illness an acute inflammation—compare chronic 2a (2): acute care an acute hospitalc: lasting a short time acute experiments
Seen and Heard
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