acuto-, acut-, acuti-, acu-, -cusis; also, agu-
(Latin: sharp, to sharpen; point; needle, pin)
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.
2. As a figure of speech: pointed, incisive, keen, pungent: As a journalist, Timothy was noted for his aculeated questions presented to the politicians.
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.
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.
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!
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).
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.
Go to this Word A Day Revisited Index
so you can see more of Mickey Bach's cartoons.
2. To sharpen; to cause to become sharp or keen: Her despair acuminated to an ultimate disaster when she committed suicide.