Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Lacking quickness of perception or intellect.
  • adjective Characterized by a lack of intelligence or sensitivity.
  • adjective Not distinctly felt.
  • adjective Not sharp, pointed, or acute in form; blunt.
  • adjective Having an obtuse angle.
  • adjective Botany Having a blunt or rounded tip.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Blunt; not acute or pointed: applied to an angle, it denotes one that is larger than a right angle, or of more than 90°. See cuts under angle.
  • In botany, blunt, or rounded at the extremity: as, an obtuse leaf, sepal, or petal.
  • Dull; lacking in acuteness of sensibility: stupid: as, he is very obtuse; his perceptions are obtuse.
  • Not shrill; obscure; dull: as, an obtuse sound.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Not pointed or acute; blunt; -- applied esp. to angles greater than a right angle, or containing more than ninety degrees.
  • adjective Not having acute sensibility or perceptions; not alert, especially to the feelings of others; dull; stupid.
  • adjective Dull; deadened.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective zoology Blunt; not sharp.
  • adjective Intellectually dull or dim-witted.
  • adjective Indirect or circuitous.
  • adjective Of sound: deadened or muffled.
  • adjective geometry Of an angle: greater than 90 degrees but less than 180 degrees.
  • adjective geometry Of a triangle: with one obtuse angle.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective slow to learn or understand; lacking intellectual acuity
  • adjective lacking in insight or discernment
  • adjective (of a leaf shape) rounded at the apex
  • adjective of an angle; between 90 and 180 degrees

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin obtūsus, past participle of obtundere, to blunt; see obtund.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin obtusus, past participle of obtundere ("to strike at or upon, beat, blunt, dull"), from ob ("upon") + tundere ("to strike").

Examples

  • Scalia rejected what he called the "obtuse" argument by the attorneys for consumers who challenged CompuCredit that Congress had not intended for companies to force disputes into binding arbitration.

    News - latimes.com

  • You need a new thesaurus, your reliance on the word obtuse is getting annoying.

    Raw Story

  • You need a new thesaurus, your reliance on the word obtuse is getting annoying.

    Raw Story

  • All he’s doing is what all of you phonies do – speak in obtuse generalities.

    Think Progress » Halliburton/KBR Goes After Rape Survivor Jamie Leigh Jones’ Personal Integrity In Its Supreme Court Petition

  • Oh and maybe the reason they’re all quite obtuse is that being in a chick-lit novel themselves they never read chick-lit, or seen a chick-flick and so don’t come to recognise the signals like the rest of us?

    Me and Chick-Lit « Tales from the Reading Room

  • “I don’t much like hearing him called obtuse and superficial, but I suppose I should like still less to hear Sybell praise him.

    Red Pottage

  • You get into the story for a couple of pages, then you realize that the characters are too bizarre, the world-view does not fit, the plot does not compute, and even the words themselves that author uses are baroque, esoteric, obtuse ... in other words, if you approach it lightly, Chabon's prose is not going to make much sense.

    "Steampunk" Anthology, Edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer

  • If you can't see how even the most resolutely period-costumed production of Don Carlos maybe just might have some pertinence to current political realities, then you're just plain obtuse.

    Archive 2007-09-01

  • If you can't see how even the most resolutely period-costumed production of Don Carlos maybe just might have some pertinence to current political realities, then you're just plain obtuse.

    Rant

  • "I don't much like hearing him called obtuse and superficial, but I suppose I should like still less to hear Sybell praise him.

    Red Pottage

Comments

New comments are temporarily disabled while we update our database.

  • This word, uttered by Tim Robbins' character (Andy Dufresne)in the movie "The Shawshank Redemption", made an implacable enemy of the prison Warden, to wit: "How can you be so obtuse?"

    February 3, 2007

  • An angle about to take a big bite of some flapjacks.

    February 4, 2007

  • "'No, he's not. He's in Seattle,' I said. Willfully obtuse." -Club Dead, by Charlaine Harris

    February 5, 2011