Definition of acute
- acute pain
- acute illness
- acute hospitals
- an acute patient
- acute experiments
- an acute angle
- an acute triangle
- an acute thinker
- acute hearing
- acute distress
- an acute emergency
an acute sense of humor
It's a politically acute film that does not oversimplify the issues.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'acute.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
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").
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
almighty, blistering, deep, dreadful, excruciating, explosive, exquisite, fearful, fearsome, ferocious, fierce, frightful, furious, ghastly, hard, heavy, heavy-duty, intense, intensive, keen, profound, terrible, vehement, vicious, violent;
synonyms see in addition sharp
: 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
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Confusing Words—A Quiz