Monday, October 14, 2013
Word of the Week - Acute
Nearly forgot it was Monday! LOL But lucky for you, I remembered. ;-) And so, I'm hear to talk about acute.
This will be a quick one, but I found it kinda interesting primarily because of my own weird thought-processes. See, when I was learning about angles back in middle school, I taught myself to remember that acute = under 90 degrees, because small = cute. So acute angles were small angles.
Worked well enough in math class...but not so well in vocabulary, LOL, when I began reading books that used acute in a non-math sense. When I first came across it, I naturally thought that "an acute case of the flu" meant a SMALL case of the flu.
Um, er...brilliant, Roseanna. Just brilliant. ;-)
I quickly learned I was wrong, but I never bothered looking up why. As it turns out, it's pretty simple. Acute in its math sense doesn't mean "small." It means "sharp." Makes total sense, right? The Latin acutus is "sharp, pointed." Interestingly, though, the original meaning in terms of a disease or whatnot was "coming and going quickly" more than "intense," which didn't come about until 1727. Between those two, though, was the expected "sharp, irritating" meaning that evolved by the 15th century.
Makes much more sense with the angle meaning than my "small." ;-)