early 15c., "dull, blunted, not sharp," 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, not acutely sensitive or perceptive" is by c. 1500. In geometry, in reference to a plane angle greater than a right angle," 1560s. Related: Obtusely; obtuseness.
updated on July 29, 2019