acute

adjective
\ ə-ˈkyüt How to pronounce acute (audio) \
acuter; acutest

Definition of acute

1a(1) : characterized by sharpness or severity of sudden onset acute pain
(2) : having a sudden onset, sharp rise, and short course acute illness
(3) : being, providing, or requiring short-term medical care (as for serious illness or traumatic injury) acute hospitals an acute patient
b : lasting a short time acute experiments
2 : ending in a sharp point: such as
a : being or forming an angle measuring less than 90 degrees an acute angle
b : composed of acute angles an acute triangle
3a of an accent mark : having the form ´
b : marked with an acute accent
c : of the variety indicated by an acute accent
4a : marked by keen discernment or intellectual perception especially of subtle distinctions an acute thinker
b : responsive to slight impressions or stimuli acute hearing
5 : felt, perceived, or experienced intensely acute distress
6 : demanding urgent attention an acute emergency

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Other Words from acute

acutely adverb
acuteness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for acute

acute, critical, crucial mean of uncertain outcome. acute stresses intensification of conditions leading to a culmination or breaking point. an acute housing shortage critical adds to acute implications of imminent change, of attendant suspense, and of decisiveness in the outcome. the war has entered a critical phase crucial suggests a dividing of the ways and often a test or trial involving the determination of a future course or direction. a crucial vote

synonyms see in addition sharp

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").

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 on the Web In the 24-hour period that ended Thursday, 188 COVID-19 patients were in acute care in hospitals in the county. Tom Steele, Dallas News, "Dallas County reports 9 coronavirus deaths, 181 new cases," 23 Apr. 2021 Of those, 289 were in intensive care and 899 were in acute care. Colin Campbell, baltimoresun.com, "Maryland reports third straight day of 1,000-plus COVID cases, hospitalizations down again," 23 Apr. 2021 Based on new pandemic projections, demand for acute care is expected to spike in the weeks to come no matter how many more restrictions are put in place, Brown said. Paula Newton, CNN, "Trudeau warns Canada faces a serious third wave of Covid-19 cases as officials toughen lockdown measures," 16 Apr. 2021 Ryden also presented plans to acquire 42.5 acres in Selma, where the hospital system could build an acute-care hospital. Laura Garcia, San Antonio Express-News, "University Health to buy land near Retama racetrack," 31 Mar. 2021 There is a hospital; the town website says it’s one of the fastest-growing acute-care centers in the country. Sarah Jones, Vulture, "No Country for the Old: On Nomadland and Some Kind of Heaven," 25 Mar. 2021 That missing chunk is the network of services for people in need of acute behavioral health care -- people like Justin who need more than outpatient therapy but not long-term, full-time institutional care. Anchorage Daily News, "Behavioral health experts say Alaska needs a new way to help those in crisis," 1 Mar. 2021 To limit the number of people in acute care facilities, nursing students have been unable to complete hospital clinical experiences. Sara Turpel, sun-sentinel.com, "Save nurses. Get the COVID-19 vaccine. | Opinion," 25 Feb. 2021 Broken heart syndrome occurs when the heart is stunned by sudden, acute stress and its left ventricle weakens. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, "Losing a long-term spouse can be deadly, studies show," 11 Apr. 2021

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.

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First Known Use of acute

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

History and Etymology for acute

Middle English, borrowed from Latin acūtus "sharpened, pointed, having a violent onset, discerning, less than 90 degrees (of an angle)," from past participle of acuere "to sharpen, rouse, stimulate," probably derived from an otherwise unattested adjective stem acū- "sharp"; akin to acū-, acus "needle," a perhaps independently derived noun; further akin to Old Church Slavic osŭtŭ "thistle," Lithuanian ãšutas "hair of a horse's tail or mane"; all going back to the Indo-European base *h2eḱ- "sharp" — more at edge entry 1

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Time Traveler for acute

Time Traveler

The first known use of acute was in the 14th century

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Statistics for acute

Last Updated

27 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Acute.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/acute. Accessed 8 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for acute

acute

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of acute

: 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

adjective
\ ə-ˈkyüt How to pronounce acute (audio) \
acuter; acutest

Kids Definition of acute

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
3 : severe, sharp acute pain
4 : developing quickly and lasting only a short time acute illness
5 : critical sense 4, urgent an acute shortage of food
6 : very strong and sensitive an acute sense of smell

Other Words from acute

acutely adverb
acuteness noun

acute

adjective
\ ə-ˈkyüt How to pronounce acute (audio) \

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 infection
b(1) : having a sudden onset, sharp rise, and short course acute illness an acute inflammation — compare chronic entry 1 sense 2a
(2) : acute care an acute hospital
c : lasting a short time acute experiments

Other Words from acute

acutely adverb
acuteness noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on acute

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for acute

Nglish: Translation of acute for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of acute for Arabic Speakers

Comments on acute

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