• (RP) IPA: /əˈkjuːt/
  • (GA) enPR: ə-kyo͞ot′, IPA: /əˈkjut/

acute (comparative acuter, superlative acutest)

  1. brief#Adjective|Brief, quick#Adjective|quick, short#Adjective|short.
    Synonyms: fast, rapid
    Antonyms: leisurely, slow
    It was an acute event.
  2. high#Adjective|High or shrill.
    Antonyms: grave
    an acute accent or tone
  3. Intense, sensitive, sharp#Adjective|sharp.
    Synonyms: keen, powerful, strong
    Antonyms: dull, obtuse, slow, witless
    She had an acute sense of honour.  Eagles have very acute vision.
    • 1813 January 26, [Jane Austen], chapter II, in Pride and Prejudice: A Novel. In Three Volumes, volume III, London: Printed [by George Sidney] for T[homas] Egerton, […], OCLC 38659585 ↗, pages 37–38 ↗:
      Miss Darcy was tall, and on a larger scale than Elizabeth; and, though little more than sixteen, her figure was formed, and her appearance womanly and graceful. She was less handsome than her brother; but there was sense and good humour in her face, and her manners were perfectly unassuming and gentle. Elizabeth, who had expected to find in her as acute and unembarrassed an observer as ever Mr. Darcy had been, was much relieved by discerning such different feelings.
  4. Urgent.
    Synonyms: emergent, pressing, sudden
    His need for medical attention was acute.
    • 1851 November 13, Herman Melville, “The Chase—First Day”, in Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, 1st American edition, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers; London: Richard Bentley, OCLC 57395299 ↗, page 601 ↗:
      {...}} Ahab rapidly ordered the ship's course to be slightly altered, and the sail to be shortened. The acute policy dictating these movements was sufficiently vindicated at daybreak, by the sight of a long sleek on the sea directly and lengthwise ahead, smooth as oil, and resembling in the pleated watery wrinkles bordering it, the polished metallic-like marks of some swift tide-rip, at the mouth of a deep, rapid stream.
  5. (botany) With the side#Noun|sides meet#Verb|meeting directly to form an acute angle (at an apex or base).
    Antonyms: obtuse
  6. (geometry) Of an angle: less than 90 degrees.
    Antonyms: obtuse
    The teacher pointed out the acute angle.
  7. (geometry) Of a triangle: having all three interior#Adjective|interior angles measure#Verb|measuring less than 90 degrees.
    Synonyms: acute-angled
    Antonyms: obtuse, obtuse-angled
    an acute triangle
  8. (linguistics, chiefly, historical) Of an accent#Noun|accent or tone#Noun|tone: generally high#Adjective|higher than others.
  9. (medicine) Of an abnormal condition#Noun|condition of recent or sudden onset, in contrast to delayed#Adjective|delayed onset; this sense does not imply severity, unlike the common usage.
    He dropped dead of an acute illness.
  10. (medicine) Of a short-lived condition, in contrast to a chronic condition; this sense also does not imply severity.
    Antonyms: chronic
    The acute symptoms resolved promptly.
  11. (orthography) After a letter#Noun|letter of the alphabet: having an acute accent.
    The last letter of ‘café’ is ‘e’ acute.
Related terms Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations
  • French: aigu
  • Portuguese: agudo
  • Russian: о́стрый
Translations Noun

acute (plural acutes)

  1. (medicine) A person who has the acute form of a disorder#Noun|disorder, such as schizophrenia.
  2. (linguistics, chiefly, historical) An accent#Noun|accent or tone#Noun|tone high#Adjective|higher than others.
    Antonyms: grave
  3. (orthography) An acute accent (´).
    The word ‘cafe’ often has an acute over the ‘e’.

acute (acutes, present participle acuting; past and past participle acuted)

  1. (transitive, phonetics) To give an acute sound#Noun|sound to.
    He acutes his rising inflection too much.
  2. (transitive, archaic) To make acute; to sharpen, to whet#Verb|whet.

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