sharp or severe in effect; intense:
acute sorrow; an acute pain.
extremely great or serious; crucial; critical:
an acute shortage of oil.
(of disease) brief and severe (opposed to ).
sharp or penetrating in intellect, insight, or perception:
an acute observer.
extremely sensitive even to slight details or impressions:
acute eyesight.
sharp at the end; ending in a point.

(of an angle) less than 90°.
(of a triangle) containing only acute angles.

consisting of, indicated by, or bearing the mark ´, placed over vowel symbols in some languages to show that the vowels or the syllables they are in are pronounced in a certain way, as in French that the quality of an e so marked is close; in Hungarian that the vowel is long; in Spanish that the marked syllable bears the word accent; in Ibo that it is pronounced with high tones; or in classical Greek, where the mark originated, that the syllable bears the word accent and is pronounced, according to the ancient grammarians, with raised pitch (opposed to ):
the acute accent; an acute e.
the acute accent.
penetrating in perception or insight
sensitive to details; keen
of extreme importance; crucial
sharp or severe; intense: acute pain, an acute drought
having a sharp end or point

(of an angle) less than 90°
(of a triangle) having all its interior angles less than 90°

(of a disease)

arising suddenly and manifesting intense severity
of relatively short duration Compare chronic (sense 2)


(of a vowel or syllable in some languages with a pitch accent, such as ancient Greek) spoken or sung on a higher musical pitch relative to neighbouring syllables or vowels
of or relating to an accent (´) placed over vowels, denoting that the vowel is pronounced with higher musical pitch (as in ancient Greek), with a certain special quality (as in French), etc Compare (for senses 8a, 8b) grave, circumflex

(of a hospital, hospital bed, or ward) intended to accommodate short-term patients with acute illnesses
an acute accent

late 14c., originally of fevers and diseases, “coming and going quickly” (opposed to a chronic), from Latin acutus “sharp, pointed,” figuratively “shrill, penetrating; intelligent, cunning,” past participle of acuere “sharpen” (see acuity). Meaning “sharp, irritating” is from early 15c. Meaning “intense” is from 1727. Related: Acutely; acuteness.

acute a·cute (ə-kyōōt’)

Pointed at the end; sharp.

Of or relating to a disease or a condition with a rapid onset and a short, severe course.

Of or relating to a patient afflicted with such a disease.


Reacting readily to stimuli or impressions, as hearing or eyesight; sensitive.

Relating to an illness that has a rapid onset and follows a short but severe course. Compare chronic.

Having an acute angle.


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