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 "in front of; 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" (source also of Latin tudes "hammer," Sanskrit tudati "he thrusts"). Sense of "stupid" is first found c. 1500. Related: Obtusely; obtuseness.
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