acute 1 *sharp, keen
Analogous words: *incisive, trenchant, cutting: penetrating, piercing (see ENTER)
Antonyms: obtuse
Contrasted words: *dull, blunt: *stupid, slow, dull, crass, dense
2 Acute, critical, crucial.
Acute most commonly indicates intensification, sometimes rapid, of a situation demanding notice and showing signs of some definite resolution

intimately associated with Indian affairs was the pressing question of defense . . . Pontiac’s rebellion made the issue acuteMorison & Commager


when the food shortage became acute in New Haven, the junior class of Yale College was moved to Glastonbury— Amer. Guide Series: Conn.

Critical may describe an approach to a crisis or turning point and may imply an imminent outcome or resolution

the war has reached a new critical phase . . . we have moved into active and continuing battle— Roosevelt


the critical lack of rubber in the last war was finally beaten by the development of synthetic rubber plants capable of turning out 1,000,000 tons a year— Colliers Yr. Bk.

Crucial applies to an actual crisis situ
ation, often one viewed with fear, worry, or suspense, and implies a speedily ensuing decisive or definitive outcome

a continuous evolution, punctuated by the sudden flaming or flowering of a crucial moment now and then— Lowes


the next few months are crucial. What we do now will affect our American way of life for decades to come— Truman

Analogous words: culminating, climactic (see corresponding nouns at SUMMIT): *dangerous, hazardous, precarious, perilous: menacing, threatening (see THREATEN): intensified, aggravated (see INTENSIFY)

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

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  • Acute — A*cute , a. [L. acutus, p. p. of acuere to sharpen, fr. a root ak to be sharp. Cf. {Ague}, {Cute}, {Edge}.] 1. Sharp at the end; ending in a sharp point; pointed; opposed to {blunt} or {obtuse}; as, an acute angle; an acute leaf. [1913 Webster] 2 …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Acute — may refer to: * Acute angle * Acute accent * Acute (medicine) * Acute (phonetic) * Acute (programming language) * The Acute a band …   Wikipedia

  • acute — [ə kyo͞ot′] adj. [L acutus, pp. of acuere, sharpen: see ACUMEN] 1. having a sharp point 2. keen or quick of mind; shrewd 3. sensitive to impressions [acute hearing] 4. severe and sharp, as pain, jealousy, etc. 5. severe but of s …   English World dictionary

  • acute — UK US /əˈkjuːt/ adjective ► if a bad situation is acute, it causes severe problems or damage: »The problem is particularly acute for small businesses. »an acute conflict/crisis/need …   Financial and business terms

  • acute — acute; acute·ness; per·acute; sub·acute; …   English syllables

  • acute — [adj1] deeply perceptive astute, canny, clever, discerning, discriminating, incisive, ingenious, insightful, intense, intuitive, judicious, keen, observant, penetrating, perspicacious, piercing, quick witted, sensitive, sharp, smart, subtle;… …   New thesaurus

  • Acute — A*cute , v. t. To give an acute sound to; as, he acutes his rising inflection too much. [R.] Walker. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • acute — I adjective acer, acuminate, acutus, alert, apt, astute, aware, clear sighted, critical, crucial, cutting, discerning, fine, foreseeing, intense, intuitive, keen, keenly sensitive, knowledgeable, penetrating, perceptive, perspicacious, perspicax …   Law dictionary

  • acute — (adj.) late 14c., originally of fevers and diseases, coming and going quickly (opposed to a chronic), from L. acutus sharp, pointed, figuratively shrill, penetrating; intelligent, cunning, pp. of acuere sharpen (see ACUITY (Cf. acuity)). Meaning… …   Etymology dictionary

  • acute — ► ADJECTIVE 1) (of something bad) critical; serious. 2) (of an illness) coming sharply to a crisis. Often contrasted with CHRONIC(Cf. ↑chronicity). 3) perceptive; shrewd. 4) (of a physical sense or faculty) highly developed. 5) (of an angle) less …   English terms dictionary

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