acuto-, acut-, acuti-, acu-, -cusis; also, agu-

(Latin: sharp, to sharpen; point; needle, pin)

aculeate (s) (noun), aculeates (pl)
An insect of the infraorder Aculeata: Bees, wasps, and ants are all stinging aculeates.
aculeate (adjective), more aculeate, most aculeate
1. Pointed; covered with sharp spines: An aculeate porcupine is protected by a needle-like layer of quills.
2. Regarding insects bearing a stinger: Linda read in her biology book about some aculeate bees and wasps possessing a sharp organ for defense.
3. As a figure of speech: pointed, incisive, stinging: Mr. Thompson was known for his aculeate, sharp, and biting remarks aimed at his colleagues.
aculeated (adjective), more aculeated, most aculeated
1. Descriptive of something that is pointed or sharpened to a needle-like point; armed with prickles: A wild rosebush is certainly aculeated having numerous thorns on all the stems.
2. As a figure of speech: pointed, incisive, keen, pungent: As a journalist, Timothy was noted for his aculeated questions presented to the politicians.
aculeation (s) (noun), aculeations (pl)
A condition of being sharpened or pointed: The aculeation of Sam's pencils was commented on quite positively by his teacher in school.

When Bob bought the cactus its spines were all in a state of aculeation, but later on it lost all of its sharply pointed projections and died.

aculeiform (adjective), more aculeiform, most aculeiform
Spine-shaped, like a prickle: An insect's ovipositor is aculeiform, particularly when it changes into a painful prick or puncture..
aculeolate (adjective) (not comparable)
Referring to something with little sharp-pointed spines: The little cactus was quite aculeolate and the little pointed spines would grow quite large with time.

The little sea urchin that Jenny saw had a hard aculeolate shell which she took a photo of and wanted to show to her biology teacher.

aculeous (adjective), more aculeous, most aculeous
Concerning something needle-like or having a stinger; aculeate: Bees and wasps can be described with this rare and obsolete term as aculeous insects.
aculeus (s) (noun), aculei (pl)
1. The sting of an animal: Hymenopterous insects possess aculei as that of a scorpion, which can be combined with a poison gland.
2. A conical elevation of the skin of a plant, becoming hard and sharp-pointed: Brambles and rosebushes are noted of having aculei , and can be dangerous if they prick a person's skin.
3. A hair-like projection: Some kinds of cacti have aculei that one can hardly see, but can be painful if touched!
acumen (AK yuh muhn, uh KYOO muhn) (s) (noun), acumens (pl)
1. Keenness and quickness in understanding and when dealing with a situation; shrewdness; keenness of discrimination: Eve's business acumen was a critical factor in her choice as the CEO of the large corporation.
2. The ability to make quick, accurate, and intelligent judgments about people or situations; mental sharpness and intelligence: As a recent graduate in business administration, Trudy has considerable business and financial acumen.
3. Speed, accuracy, and keenness of judgment or insight: The student contestant had the acumen to figure out which version of the homograph to spell correctly even though the two words had the same exact pronunciation.
4. Etymology: from Latin acumen, "a point, a sting"; hence, "mental sharpness, shrewdness"; from acuere, "to sharpen".

The pronunciation (uh KYOO muhn), with the stress on the second syllable, is an older, traditional pronunciation reflecting the word's Latin origin. In recent years it has been replaced as the most common pronunciation of the word by an Anglicized variant with stress on the first syllable, (AK yuh muhn).

Word History

A keen mind may be compared to a sharp knife, which penetrates easily and quickly. For clean-cut action, both the knife and the mind must be "sharp". So it is natural that, when a word was needed to denote the faculty of keen, penetrating thought, the Latin word for "sharpness" should be borrowed.

"Acuere", in Latin, means "to sharpen", and acumen means "sharpness". English borrowed acumen and used it figuratively for sharpness of the mind.

"Acute", from the past participle of the same Latin verb "acuere", means "sharpened, keen", and it is used broadly in a figurative sense.

Picturesque Word Origins; G. & C. Merriam Company;
Springfield, Massachusetts, U.S.A; 1933; page 8.
Keenness in practical or intellectual matters.
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Quickness and accuracy of judgment.
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acuminate (verb), acuminates; acuminated; acuminating
1. To end in a sharp point: The leaves on the holly acuminated to very sharply pinpointed tips.
2. To sharpen; to cause to become sharp or keen: Her despair acuminated to an ultimate disaster when she committed suicide.
acuminate (adjective), more acuminate, most acuminate
Descriptive of something pointed; tapering to a point or sharply pointed: When the candle was being made on a string with very hot wax, the acuminate diameter was very small at the top where it would later be lighted with a match.
acumination (s) (noun), acuminations (pl)
A tapering point; a termination to a point: The leaves of the shrub ended in acuminations and were very dangerous to touch.
acuminous (adjective), more acuminous, most acuminous
Distinguished by quickness of perception; acute: Jenny was excellent in her subjects at school and was considered to be very acuinous by all of her teachers.
acuminulate (adjective), more acuminulate, most acuminulate
Concerning something that is slightly pointed or tapered: Dr. Smith told Jane that her acuminulate teeth were in perfect condition and that she could eat anything she wanted to.
acuologist (s) (noun), acuologists (pl)
A specialist in the use of needles for therapeutic reasons: Dr. Black, an acuologist, suggested a treatment with special acupuncture needles to relieve Sally's back pains.

Cross references of word families that are related directly, or indirectly, to: "sour, sharp": acerb-; aceto-; acid-; acies- (not "sour"); oxy-; pung- (not "sour").