Definition of obtuse
- an obtuse triangle
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He is too obtuse to take a hint.
obtuse scissors designed so that young users will not cut themselves
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'obtuse.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Obtuse, which comes to us from the Latin word obtusus, meaning "dull" or "blunt," can describe an angle that is not acute or a person who is mentally "dull" or slow of mind. The word has also developed a somewhat controversial sense of "hard to comprehend," probably as a result of confusion with abstruse. This sense of obtuse is well established, and it is now possible to speak of "obtuse language" and "obtuse explanations," as well as "obtuse angles" and "obtuse readers"; however, it may attract some criticism. If you're hesitant about using new meanings of words, you should probably stick with abstruse when you want a word meaning "difficult to understand."
: stupid or unintelligent : not able to think clearly or to understand what is obvious or simple
mathematics : not ending in a sharp point : measuring between 90 degrees and 180 degrees
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