"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[uh b-toos, -tyoos] /əbˈtus, -ˈtyus/
not quick or alert in perception, feeling, or intellect; not sensitive or observant; dull.
not sharp, acute, or pointed; blunt in form.
(of a leaf, petal, etc.) rounded at the extremity.
indistinctly felt or perceived, as pain or sound.
Origin of obtuse
1500-10; < Latin obtūsus dulled (past participle of obtundere), equivalent to ob- ob- + tūd-, variant stem of tundere to beat + -tus past participle suffix, with dt > s
Related forms
obtusely, adverb
obtuseness, noun
subobtuse, adjective
subobtusely, adverb
subobtuseness, noun
Can be confused
abstruse, obtuse.
1. unfeeling, tactless, insensitive; blind, imperceptive, unobservant; gauche, boorish; slow, dim. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for obtuse
  • When females have been candid with me, they often cite my rather obtuse ways of carrying on a conversation.
  • The parents who gave their kids the gun that his brother used to commit suicide weren't evil so much as mind-numbingly obtuse.
  • It might even be the actual dominant life form on this planet, and we're simply too obtuse to be aware of it.
  • Their words were obtuse and the presentations circuitous.
  • It doesn't matter whether the angle joining them is obtuse or acute.
  • The moral sensibility of the writer seems at once to be morbidly obtuse and morbidly acute.
  • There have been blowups, say those who have witnessed them, and obtuse demands.
  • At that point where the course suddenly alters to the northward an obtuse angle is formed.
  • Maybe he is embittered by his own experience with obtuse or dishonest venture capitalists.
  • So they often seemed strident, ideological and morally obtuse.
British Dictionary definitions for obtuse


mentally slow or emotionally insensitive
  1. (of an angle) lying between 90° and 180°
  2. (of a triangle) having one interior angle greater than 90°
not sharp or pointed
indistinctly felt, heard, etc; dull: obtuse pain
(of a leaf or similar flat part) having a rounded or blunt tip
Derived Forms
obtusely, adverb
obtuseness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin obtūsus dulled, past participle of obtundere to beat down; see obtund
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for obtuse

early 15c., "dull, blunted," from Middle French obtus (fem. obtuse), from Latin obtusus "blunted, dull," also used figuratively, past participle of obtundere "to beat against, make dull," from ob "against" (see ob-) + tundere "to beat," from PIE *(s)tud-e- "to beat, strike, push, thrust," from root *(s)teu- "to push, stick, knock, beat" (cf. Latin tudes "hammer," Sanskrit tudati "he thrusts"). Sense of "stupid" is first found c.1500. Related: Obtusely; obtuseness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
obtuse in Medicine

obtuse ob·tuse (ŏb-tōōs', -tyōōs', əb-)

  1. Lacking quickness of perception or intellect.

  2. Not sharp or acute; blunt.

ob·tuse'ness n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for obtuse

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for obtuse

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with obtuse

Nearby words for obtuse