Definition of obtuse in English:


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  • 1Annoyingly insensitive or slow to understand.

    ‘he wondered if the doctor was being deliberately obtuse’
    • ‘This is not because they are obtuse or stupid or misdirected.’
    • ‘To this end, the Peak began to ask how America could be so obtuse as to not understand the motives behind the attack.’
    • ‘I wouldn't say these guys were necessarily trying for a hit… they're too obtuse for such a crass act.’
    • ‘Really, I can't understand how Raspberry would be so obtuse to confuse cause and effect.’
    • ‘The mainstream media would do us a lot of good by not being obtuse about it.’
    • ‘Mother can be a little obtuse when she chooses so I didn't shoot back sarcastically, ‘No Mother, I'm doing this out of the goodness of my heart.’’
    • ‘When she says Home is ‘quite difficult to describe’ because ‘it doesn't have a plot ’, McCartney isn't being awkward or obtuse, just careful.’
    • ‘You have to love that intentionally obtuse use of the conditional ‘in case’ - as if the Times reporter didn't really know what the real plan was.’
    • ‘But, being rather obtuse at times, I ignored it.’
    • ‘Young man, are you being deliberately obtuse and provocative?’
    • ‘Klein was being deliberately obtuse it seems to me.’
    • ‘Those who don't get this are either sadly uninformed or deliberately obtuse.’
    • ‘When I pressed her and told her of Alana's increasing concern about her eyesight, she looked at me as if I were being deliberately obtuse.’
    • ‘I frowned, wondering if he was deliberately being obtuse, like I had been with him earlier.’
    • ‘When Stephen Sondheim's Follies arrived in 1971, we critics were pretty obtuse about it.’
    • ‘He's bipolar and I'm completely obtuse to someone's behaviour, so it's a perfect match.’
    • ‘Luskin tells Isikoff he did nothing wrong but now concedes ‘I was completely obtuse about the optics of the situation.’’
    stupid, dull, slow-witted, slow, dull-witted, unintelligent, witless, half-baked, half-witted, doltish, lumpish, blockish, imperceptive
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    1. 1.1Difficult to understand.
      ‘some of the lyrics are a bit obtuse’
      • ‘The deadpan humour behind their stone-faced radical posturing and deliberately obtuse lyrics were certainly overlooked by many.’
      • ‘With some it's all there if you read between the lines, while others are deliberately obtuse to maintain an element of privacy.’
      • ‘What's more, it turned a difficult, obtuse administrative issue - campaign financing - into an easy-to-grasp, emotionally appealing one.’
      • ‘Lily wondered if he was deliberately being obtuse.’
      • ‘But all their early 90's radical reinvention meant was wrapping the songs in deliberately obtuse production to make it seem cutting edge.’
      • ‘Even for him, this is an especially difficult and obtuse text.’
      • ‘This recording is deeply, willfully obtuse, enigmatic and difficult.’
      • ‘I have noted from reading Hansard and other reports that some members in this House are being deliberately obtuse on this matter.’
      • ‘Worse again, he put together arrangements for his music which were obtuse and wilfully difficult.’
      • ‘Brad is being both condescending and obtuse - I have difficulty in seeing any evidence whatsoever of infantilism in the piece that he quotes.’
      • ‘In the fullness of time, ninety-nine percent of the bad, ugly, stupid, obtuse, and banal remains so, and remains so unmemorable that it sinks into oblivion.’
      • ‘At the first obtuse fact and boring tangent, readers will ditch them.’
      • ‘The inner mysteries consist of more complex or obtuse symbolism which exists within these same stories.’
      • ‘Also known for her potent, often obtuse poetry is Tori Amos.’
      • ‘The lyrics are suitably obtuse and playful, with just the right amount of post-industrial alienation to re-awaken that eastern block new wave spirit.’
      • ‘My friend here has made an obtuse reference to someone watching us, and to keep our eyes open.’
  • 2(of an angle) more than 90° and less than 180°

    ‘an obtuse angle of 150°’
    • ‘I found it, I measured it, and, well, I'm sorry, people, but an obtuse angle of 134 degrees just ain't a corner.’
    • ‘These students had studied different types of angles e.g., acute, straight and obtuse angles, and discussed the notion of adjacent angles.’
    • ‘The LRF - 800's performance in the field, especially on smaller objects and those with severely obtuse angles, remains to seen.’
    • ‘The fracture surfaces form acute and obtuse angles with the outer surface of the bone, and they exhibit no perturbations caused by split lines.’
    • ‘One caveat here for the stick-right or stick-left position - be careful not to throw the dice at an obtuse angle to the back wall.’
    • ‘The cutting edge includes two sections which form an obtuse angle and in the area of a roof-shaped tip merge into each other.’
    • ‘Saccheri proved that the hypothesis of the obtuse angle implied the fifth postulate, so obtaining a contradiction.’
    • ‘Flat-roofed with lots of glass and obtuse angles sticking out from the corner of a meadow, it is reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright designs.’
    • ‘Walls unexpectedly meet at acute and obtuse angles rather than commonplace right angles.’
    • ‘As if the obtuse angle between his thighs isn't enough, Farrell is actually leaning back in his chair.’
    • ‘Black and white with a tasteful blue cover, Smoke peers out at the capital from an obtuse angle.’
    • ‘The largest angle of an obtuse triangle is more than 90 degrees, and the largest angle of an acute triangle is less than 90 degrees.’
    • ‘Other relatively predictable adaptations are the development of an obtuse angle between the scapula and coracoid and the loss of the furcula.’
    • ‘Anterior margin of carapace slightly acuminate with less obtuse cardinal angle than posterior margin.’
    • ‘The rear of the craft was square so the whole thing appeared to be an obtuse triangle with the large angle at the nose.’
    • ‘The ileocaecal angle is distorted and often obtuse.’
    • ‘Cardinal angles distinct and obtuse with the posterior one being more obtuse than anterior one.’
  • 3Not sharp-pointed or sharp-edged; blunt.

    • ‘it had strange obtuse teeth’
    rounded, flat, thick, obtuse, stubby, stubbed, unpointed
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/əbˈto͞os/ /əbˈtus/ /äbˈto͞os/ /ɑbˈtus/


Late Middle English (in obtuse (sense 3)): from Latin obtusus, past participle of obtundere ‘beat against’ (see obtund).