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How to pronounce obtuse (audio)


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Dictionary definition of obtuse

Slow to understand or perceive things, often characterized by a lack of insight, intelligence, or sharpness in grasping concepts or ideas.
"The obtuse article failed to clearly convey the author's intended message."


Detailed meaning of obtuse

When a person is labeled as obtuse, it typically suggests that they are not quick to comprehend nuances, subtleties, or even straightforward information. This term can also refer to behavior or responses that are unresponsive or insensitive to social cues, making it difficult for others to communicate effectively with them. While "obtuse" doesn't necessarily imply intentional ignorance, it does emphasize a certain degree of mental slowness or a lack of intellectual acumen in a given context.

Example sentences containing obtuse

1. His obtuse understanding of the project requirements led to unnecessary delays and confusion.
2. Despite clear instructions, the obtuse employee failed to grasp the importance of the deadline.
3. Her obtuse comments during the debate revealed a lack of comprehension of the subject matter.
4. The director's obtuse interpretation of the script left audiences puzzled and critics unimpressed.
5. The student's obtuse approach to problem-solving hindered the group's progress during the workshop.
6. The author's obtuse use of metaphors detracted from the impact of the otherwise engaging narrative.

History and etymology of obtuse

The adjective 'obtuse' originates from the Latin word 'obtusus,' which is the past participle of 'obtundere,' a verb that means 'to dull' or 'to blunt.' In Latin, 'obtusus' was used to describe things that were physically dull or not sharp, like the edge of a blade. Over time, this concept of dullness and lack of sharpness extended metaphorically to describe individuals who were slow to comprehend or lacked insight and intelligence. When 'obtusus' was adapted into English as 'obtuse,' it retained this figurative meaning, suggesting a lack of sharpness in grasping concepts or ideas. Therefore, etymologically, 'obtuse' conveys the notion of being slow to understand or perceive things, often characterized by a deficiency in insight, intelligence, or the ability to grasp concepts with sharpness or clarity.

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Further usage examples of obtuse

1. Though an expert in his own field, he was obtuse when it came to understanding social dynamics.
2. Her obtuse resistance to new technology made it difficult for the team to adopt innovative solutions.
3. Despite the obvious clues, the obtuse detective failed to solve the mystery, baffling his colleagues.
4. The actor's obtuse delivery of the lines ruined the emotional depth of the crucial scene.
5. His obtuse handling of the diplomatic situation led to increased tensions between the two countries.
6. The programmer's obtuse code lacked the efficiency and readability needed for a collaborative project.
7. While the rest of the class understood the concept, he remained obtuse, asking repetitive questions.
8. The obtuse comments from the talk show host created a stir, as they misunderstood the guest's points.
9. Her obtuse refusal to listen to expert advice resulted in the failure of her entrepreneurial venture.
10. The obtuse lyrics of the song left listeners questioning the artist's intent and creative direction.
11. Despite the urgency of the issue, the committee's obtuse deliberations led nowhere constructive.
12. The athlete's obtuse understanding of the game rules led to penalties that cost his team the match.
13. His obtuse social skills made networking events a challenge, despite his competence in his field.
14. His obtuse remarks during the meeting annoyed everyone.
15. She had an obtuse reaction to the good news.
16. The obtuse attitude of the customer service representative was unhelpful.
17. His obtuse behavior caused him to miss the obvious solution.
18. The obtuse angle of the triangle made it difficult to measure.
19. She gave an obtuse explanation for her absence from work.
20. His obtuse understanding of the issue made the conversation frustrating.
21. The obtuse look on his face revealed his confusion.
22. Her obtuse approach to problem-solving was ineffective.
23. His obtuse reasoning led to incorrect conclusions.
24. The obtuse tone of the email made it difficult to discern the sender's intentions.
25. The obtuse criticism of the project failed to acknowledge its strengths.



dull, perceptive, sharp, astute


GRE 7 (Graduate Record Examination), Deficiency and Shortage, Naivety and Stupidity

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