acute (adj.) Look up acute at
late 14c., originally of fevers and diseases, "coming quickly to a crisis" (opposed to chronic), from Latin acutus "sharp, pointed," figuratively "shrill, penetrating; intelligent, cunning," past participle of acuere "to sharpen" (literal and figurative), from PIE root *ak- "rise to a point, be sharp" (see acro-). Also used of humors (early 15c.). Meaning "ending in a sharp point" is from 1560s; sense of "sharp or penetrating in intellect" is from 1580s. OF feelings, pains, etc., "intense," 1727. As a noun, early 15c. of fevers; c. 1600 as "acute accent." Related: Acutely; acuteness.