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Obtuseness   Listen
Obtuseness

noun
1.
The quality of being slow to understand.  Synonym: dullness.
2.
The quality of lacking a sharp edge or point.






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Obtuseness" Quotes from Famous Books



... her self-command, stirred by a sudden loyalty to her own sex which made her long to pierce his masculine obtuseness—to show him what Laura had sacrificed and what he had missed. And as he watched her, he wondered once more at the quality of aloofness—of something fresh and cool despite her passion—which had caused him to think of a nymph on fire when he first held ...
— The Privet Hedge • J. E. Buckrose

... entitles it to some respect medicinally. As we have before stated, in its early days it was considered to possess powerful healing qualities, and even now is found of use in cases of headache and weak sight. It was also supposed valuable in cases of heaviness and obtuseness of intellect. Is it, therefore unreasonable to presume that it may have had some share in gaining for our brethren beyond the Tweed that shrewdness of national ...
— Tobacco; Its History, Varieties, Culture, Manufacture and Commerce • E. R. Billings

... puzzled as well as pained by her obtuseness, "you see clearly that it must be so. True love, as I conceive it, must be something passing all knowledge, irresistible; something not to be resented for its power, but worshipped for it; something not to fight against, but to glory in. ...
— Tommy and Grizel • J.M. Barrie

... possible, to do nothing, which could jar on Ted in any way or remind him that she was "different." In her happiness and sincere desire to please she succeeded remarkably well in making herself superficially at least very much like Ted's own "kind of girl" and though with true masculine obtuseness he was entirely unaware of the conscious effort she was putting into the performance nevertheless he enjoyed the results in full and played up to her undeniable charms with his usual debonair and ...
— Wild Wings - A Romance of Youth • Margaret Rebecca Piper

... had speaking countenances. Every projection in each was worn down to obtuseness, partly by weather, more by friction from generations of loungers, whose toes and heels had from year to year made restless movements against these parapets, as they had stood there meditating on the aspect of affairs. In the case of the more friable ...
— The Mayor of Casterbridge • Thomas Hardy

... glistened in his hair. Once he reeled over, and would have fallen if Ridolfo had not been there to catch him; but he did not sing the tune they had expected, and presently they let him alone. So much for Italian humour, which, you will see, does not lack flavour. It was only the insensate obtuseness of the gull which prevented Ugolino dying of laughter. ...
— Little Novels of Italy • Maurice Henry Hewlett

... almost scientific precision. This sort of criticism was brought to perfection in the eighteenth century; and certainly it did sometimes lead critics quite out of sight and reach of the living spirit of poetry. It was responsible for masses of amazing obtuseness (especially in criticism of the visual arts); it was the frequent cause of downright silliness; it made it possible for Dr. Johnson, commenting on the line Time and the hour runs through the roughest day, ...
— Since Cezanne • Clive Bell

... between both parties. Not to admit that the text of this Edition is in many places improved, from the suggestions of my Translators, by corrections of "Names of Persons, Places, and Things," would be to betray a stubbornness or obtuseness of feeling which certainly does not enter into the composition ...
— A Bibliographical, Antiquarian and Picturesque Tour in France and Germany, Volume One • Thomas Frognall Dibdin

... of the nature of the book itself, not even a glimpse of the critic's own estimate of the book, save the implication that he himself had understood the original, though many Englishmen even were staggered by its obtuseness and failed to comprehend the subtlety of its allusion. It is criticism in the narrowest, most arrogant sense of the word, destructive instead of informing, blinding instead of illuminating. It is noteworthy that Sterne's name is nowhere mentioned in the review, nor is there a hint of Tristram's ...
— Laurence Sterne in Germany • Harvey Waterman Thayer

... of Valladolid, on the other hand (How it Strikes a Contemporary), is not so much a study of a poet as of popular misconception and obtuseness. A grotesquely idle legend of the habits of the "Corregidor" flourishes among the good folks of Valladolid; the speaker himself, who desires to do him justice, is a plain, shrewd, but unimaginative observer ...
— Robert Browning • C. H. Herford

... West are seeing increasingly the serious incongruity which exists between our way of thinking and of putting our thought into living form, and the way of the people about us. And we are not convinced, as we perhaps once were, that it is the obtuseness, or the religious perversity, of the Indian mind which is the cause of this. The sooner the better we realize that between the people of the East and of the West there is a wide mental gulf which may, indeed, by our associating together, be narrowed, but never eliminated. And the outward type ...
— India, Its Life and Thought • John P. Jones

... room was nice," Beryl felt that she showed much patience with Robin's obtuseness, "but didn't you see anything different in that room? Books and magazines! Country people don't sit and read magazines and knit on rose wool in the middle of the afternoon! Robin, that woman's a lady! And you notice she didn't tell us who she was. And a woman ...
— Red-Robin • Jane Abbott

... years to come. I had gathered that he was comparatively young, and although I had argued otherwise with the Hare, had concluded therefore that he would continue to live his happy earth life until old age brought him to a natural end. Hence my obtuseness. ...
— The Mahatma and the Hare • H. Rider Haggard

... desire for more, had followed it with "Fuzzy-Wuzzy." His sister—these things run in families—had sung "My Little Gray Home in the West"—rather sombrely, for she had wanted to sing "The Rosary," and, with the same obtuseness which characterised her brother, had come back and rendered plantation songs. The audience was now examining its programmes in the interval of silence in order to ascertain the duration of ...
— The Girl on the Boat • Pelham Grenville Wodehouse

... the sufferer, as much for his moral as his mental obtuseness, and fearful that his indignation might get the better of his pity, he left the room. His uncle threatened him with all the terrors of the courts and the prisons as he withdrew. In the kitchen he found Dock Vincent, who had come to make his promised afternoon visit. Levi left immediately, ...
— Freaks of Fortune - or, Half Round the World • Oliver Optic

... he writes, "that the Editor should convey to his readers the intellectual impressions which the execution of his task has produced on his mind. He confesses that they are mournful." Sir Richard was either a master of irony, or a man of singular obtuseness. ...
— The Life of George Borrow • Herbert Jenkins

... met with all obtuseness the flying rumors of the country. His worst enemies said that he had fallen from grace while in Washington, and "bucked" with all his bonds against a faro bank. His best friends obtained no explanation of his losses. ...
— Tales of the Chesapeake • George Alfred Townsend

... in, smiling, to tell him that breakfast was ready, and he began to question her about when his brother was taken ill. But either from obtuseness or obstinacy, he could get nothing from the woman, and he was about to let her go while he ate his breakfast of mealie cake and hot milk; but a sudden thought occurred to him. Had those ...
— Diamond Dyke - The Lone Farm on the Veldt - Story of South African Adventure • George Manville Fenn

... methods more primitive. It was incredible to him that she shouldn't—or perhaps wouldn't—realise what he was driving at. Apparently she didn't understand the first conventions of the game, and when her obtuseness forced him to a sudden and passionate declaration she ...
— The Tragic Bride • Francis Brett Young

... Yet, whatever may be the vulgar view of my character, I can truly say, I know not the hour in which I ever looked for the ridiculous. It has always been forced upon me, and is the accident of my existence. I would not want the sense of it when it comes, for that would show an obtuseness of mental organization; but, on peril of my soul, I would not move an eyelash to look ...
— Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli, Vol. I • Margaret Fuller Ossoli

... be made by the merest chances, and yet reputations control the fashions. That is a little prologue that would fit the case of all sorts of people. Everywhere around one sees prejudices, scheming, and obtuseness; but little or no justice. Nothing can be done to stem this torrent of evil. It must run its course. It always has been ...
— The Original Fables of La Fontaine - Rendered into English Prose by Fredk. Colin Tilney • Jean de la Fontaine

... right,” I snapped out, beginning to lose my temper at his obtuseness. “No husband would dream of talking to his wife in public, or of sitting with her in a corner. Every one would be laughing at them. Nor could a sister be induced to remain away from the ball-room with her brother. Those girls ...
— The Ways of Men • Eliot Gregory

... which Seward assumed the role of prime minister bears out this inference. The same fact also reveals a puzzling detail of Seward's character which amounted to obtuseness—his forgetfulness that appointment to cabinet offices had not transformed his old political rivals Chase and Cameron, nor softened the feelings of an inveterate political enemy, Welles, the Secretary of the Navy. The impression which Seward ...
— Abraham Lincoln and the Union - A Chronicle of the Embattled North, Volume 29 In The - Chronicles Of America Series • Nathaniel W. Stephenson

... of that kind." Indiana's mournful head-shake seemed to deplore, in Undine, an unsuspected moral obtuseness. "It's the way you acted to ...
— The Custom of the Country • Edith Wharton

... (The obtuseness of MABEL is very strange to her.) Mabel, don't you see how splendid ...
— Dear Brutus • J. M. Barrie

... said the doctor, inattentively; and his blindness to Sarah's charms and her powers made her almost pity such obtuseness. ...
— Peter's Mother • Mrs. Henry De La Pasture

... out her small annuity by needlework, had a brand new first-class sewing-machine handed in to her to take the place of the old worn-out treadle which tried her rheumatic joints. The pale-faced schoolmaster, who had spent years with hardly a break in struggling with the juvenile obtuseness of Tamfield, received through the post a circular ticket for a two months' tour through Southern Europe, with hotel coupons and all complete. John Hackett, the farmer, after five long years of ...
— The Doings Of Raffles Haw • Arthur Conan Doyle

... whole system of worship among nations, it differed in the various races of men according to the variety of their character. Ferocity or mildness of manners, acuteness or obtuseness of understanding, activity or indolence of disposition, a burning, a cold, or a temperate climate, a smiling or dreary country, but chiefly the thousand differences of temper which are as marked among ...
— Irish Race in the Past and the Present • Aug. J. Thebaud

... acts of ratiocination are of daily, of hourly, occurrence in the lives of countless myriads of the lower animals, and escape our observation because of the obtuseness of our senses. Every now and then, however, the observer is able to chronicle such an act of reason, and thus adduce the proposition that if the creature or creatures were continually placed in surroundings requiring a like act of reason, that act would eventually become ...
— The Dawn of Reason - or, Mental Traits in the Lower Animals • James Weir

... country—these good old gentlemen went through the various formalities of office. Sagaciously under their spectacles, did they peep into the holds of vessels. Mighty was their fuss about little matters, and marvellous, sometimes, the obtuseness that allowed greater ones to slip between their fingers Whenever such a mischance occurred—when a waggon-load of valuable merchandise had been smuggled ashore, at noonday, perhaps, and directly beneath their unsuspicious noses—nothing ...
— The Scarlet Letter • Nathaniel Hawthorne

... are still kept out, on the north side of the James River, while the enemy is on the south side—the government, meantime, being almost in a state of paralysis. Such injustice, and such obtuseness, would ...
— A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital • John Beauchamp Jones

... at length emerged from that condition of torpor, so unworthy of a philosopher, which I might well designate as charlatanism were I not so firmly determined to speak no word which can offend any man. Thou wilt now be able to reprehend the malice or obtuseness of thy deputy, and to do me right in my contention with these ...
— The Twilight of the Gods, and Other Tales • Richard Garnett

... letters.... People ask problems of their own, having fancied perhaps that they met a parallel somewhere in the writings from this Study. I used to answer these perfunctorily, never descending to a form but accepting it as a part of the labour of the work. I shudder now at the obtuseness of that. I have met people who said, "I have written you several ...
— Child and Country - A Book of the Younger Generation • Will Levington Comfort

... Him. Even the disciples whom He had drawn nearest to Him, and to whom He had tried to communicate most of His thought and spirit, were so behind that He often had to reprove them, and lament their obtuseness and want of sympathy. In the greatness of His love He had to go forward into the darkness of Gethsemane. He was alone while they slept, and then through ribaldry, scorn, and sarcasm, to the cross. Alas! alas! almost alone, except a few—to their ...
— Godliness • Catherine Booth

... sigh at this obtuseness towards what she viewed as the dignified and ladylike mission of the well-born woman, not to be the bread-winner, but the preserver and steward, of the household. Here was poor little Caroline so ignorant as actually ...
— Magnum Bonum • Charlotte M. Yonge

... young brothers. Milton, who is entirely untouched, either with the levity of Tasso or the cynicism of Fletcher, was undoubtedly himself wholly unconscious that any such charge could be brought against his work. It is the direct outcome of a certain obtuseness, a curious want of delicacy, which in his later work results at times in passages of offensively bad taste[356]. As yet it is hardly responsible for anything worse than a confused conception in the poet's imagination. [Greek: Pa/nta kathara tois katharois], ...
— Pastoral Poetry and Pastoral Drama - A Literary Inquiry, with Special Reference to the Pre-Restoration - Stage in England • Walter W. Greg

... from the occupation she had pretended to be engaged in, and said to him in a low voice, which yet not only vibrated itself, but made its hearers thrill through all their obtuseness: ...
— Half a Life-Time Ago • Elizabeth Gaskell

... same thing—the same plunging without forethought, the same disregard for all that is conventionally deemed necessary. His courage is often praised, and rightly, though we ought not to forget that ignorance, and even obtuseness, were large ingredients in it. As far as they had any plan, it was to reach Switzerland and settle on the banks of some lake, amid sublime mountain scenery, "for ever." In fact, the tour lasted but six weeks. Their difficulties began in Paris, where only an accident enabled Shelley to ...
— Shelley • Sydney Waterlow

... This obtuseness baffles me. Can the animal be deceived by the soft contact of the cork? I replace the cork balls by pellets of cotton or paper, kept in their round shape with a few bands of thread. Both are very readily accepted instead of the real bag ...
— The Life of the Spider • J. Henri Fabre

... his! And he'd forgotten it! He had remained oblivious that morning, in spite of all the little evocative references she had made. She hadn't let herself be hurt about that—not much, anyway; had managed to smile affectionately over his masculine obtuseness, as if it had meant no more to her than it would have, say, to Frederica. She had impressed him strongly, though—or tried to—with the idea that the evening was to be kept clear just for their two selves. And then she had arranged a feast—a homely ...
— The Real Adventure • Henry Kitchell Webster

... beauty. This is, I think, untrue, and unjust to our present civilization, unlovely as it undoubtedly is in many ways. It is curious that modern critics of the Greeks have not called attention to the aesthetic obtuseness which showed itself in the defective reaction of the ancients against cruelty. It was not that they excluded beautiful actions from the sphere of aesthetics; they never thought of separating the beautiful from the good in this way. But they were not disgusted at the torture of slaves, ...
— The Legacy of Greece • Various

... "is growing up very good." It was not the word she would have chosen, yet it was the only one she could think of as likely to convey to Mrs. Jervis what she wanted her to know, though it left her obtuseness without any sense of Veronica's ...
— The Tree of Heaven • May Sinclair

... the possibility that Mrs Fanshawe had written of her guest never occurred to Claire's mind; that Erskine like herself discounted such a possibility. He replied with a matter-of-fact simplicity which left Claire marvelling at the obtuseness of mankind— ...
— The Independence of Claire • Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey

... such continual wear; and when Mike whispers to her, in a sly way, that he is trying to get a home to offer a certain fine girl that he wants for a wife, Nannie shakes her finger witchingly at Biddy, as if to say, "I've found you out now." Mike does not relish her obtuseness, but she seems so timid and shrinking, that he is backward about speaking his sentiments plainly. Besides, he has a real affection for her, and that always brings a certain reserve with it. What in the world is he to do? That rascally Pat has such a decided advantage ...
— The Elm Tree Tales • F. Irene Burge Smith

... poem of his, entitled "Verdicts," somewhat in the manner of Lowell's satire. . . . . Mr. ——— resides now at Greenwich, whither he hoped I would come and see him on my return to London. Perhaps I will, for I like him. It seems strange to see an Englishman with so little physical ponderosity and obtuseness of nerve. ...
— Passages From the English Notebooks, Complete • Nathaniel Hawthorne

... disturbances of the time for the mere purpose of providing incident and adventure, and a strong local colour for his puppets—in a word, for the most ordinary and conventional purposes of the romantic novelist. Nor is this the only instance of such psychological obtuseness in his work. That, in spite of this initial and damning defect, he does succeed in producing a fine novel, is but one more proof of the amazing fecundity of his genius. None the less does the fact remain that it is a novel, so to speak, without a soul—that, ...
— Ringan Gilhaize - or The Covenanters • John Galt

... Realizing the obtuseness of the Japanese in all matters relating to religion, it seems strange that the national government permits our missionaries, and those from other Christian countries, such free scope, even employing them to educate classes in English, ...
— Due West - or Round the World in Ten Months • Maturin Murray Ballou

... most common sound of i and of y. The vulgar are apt to let it fall into the more obscure sound of short u. As elegance of utterance depends much upon the preservation of this sound from such obtuseness, perhaps Walker and others have done well to mark it as e in me; though some suppose it to be peculiar, and others identify it with the short i in fit. Thirdly, a distinction is made by some writers, between the vowel sounds heard in hate ...
— The Grammar of English Grammars • Goold Brown

... had grown desperate that he decided to do this. Wayland was not in the habit of getting into debt, and an insistent tailor and florist made his life miserable. With masculine obtuseness he chose the most unpropitious moment. Miss Sarah, after a hard day, had dropped into an easy-chair for a little rest after dinner. Wayland had forgotten the absence of the cook, and in the lamplight his aunt ...
— The Pleasant Street Partnership - A Neighborhood Story • Mary F. Leonard

... had sat silently listening to a conversation that she was at times mercifully spared from following too minutely—flashed me a humorous glance. To the Vicomtesse alone who in common with women of her type was of a singular obtuseness—was the situation without significance. ...
— Bardelys the Magnificent • Rafael Sabatini

... all respects. Mrs. Hopkins was disposed to take upon herself a large share of the conversation. The minister, on the other hand, would have devoted himself more particularly to Miss Susan, but, with a very natural make-believe obtuseness, the good woman drew his fire so constantly that few of his remarks, and hardly any of his insinuating looks, reached the tender object at which they were aimed. It is probable that his features or tones betrayed some impatience at ...
— The Guardian Angel • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

... corpse sitting on a corpse, a blind one riding on a lifeless steed?" to which the reply was "A dead horse on an ice-floe." Biorn never guessed any of the riddles, but the cleverness of them he thought miraculous, and the others roared with glee at their own obtuseness. ...
— The Path of the King • John Buchan

... time is spent in preparation, so much in routine, and so much in sleep, we find it difficult to have any experience at all." We did not, however, tamely accept such a state of affairs, for we made various and restless attempts to break through this dull obtuseness. ...
— Twenty Years At Hull House • Jane Addams

... I gazed at her bewildered. In the next, I cursed myself for a fool—I blushed for my suspicions, my obtuseness—I sought dizzily the words, the prescribed words ...
— A Chair on The Boulevard • Leonard Merrick

... Tillotson should be the chief sufferer from this readjustment of focus. Gannett's nearness had made her husband ridiculous, and a part of the ridicule had been reflected on herself. Her tolerance laid her open to a suspicion of obtuseness from which she must, at all costs, clear herself in ...
— The Greater Inclination • Edith Wharton

... for Dicky. He caught the tension in the atmosphere, and looked from his mother to me with a helpless caught-between-two-fires-expression. With masculine obtuseness he put his foot in it in his ...
— Revelations of a Wife - The Story of a Honeymoon • Adele Garrison

... writers. One of the Duke's most recent contributions, which appeared in the Contemporary Review for January last, on "Hibernicisms in Philosophy," shows that to Sidney Smith's stale joke about the obtuseness of Scotchmen there is at least one illustrious exception. It is one of the best things of its kind that has ever appeared in a magazine that can command the greatest literary talent ...
— Western Worthies - A Gallery of Biographical and Critical Sketches of West - of Scotland Celebrities • J. Stephen Jeans

... question her as to how long she had known him, and why she liked him, and what they talked about, and whether she had been expecting a visit, sitting there in her best dress. Then slowly she took in the fact that they were going to talk about nothing but Mr. Lanley's arrest. She marveled at the obtuseness of older people—to have stood at the red-hot center of youth and love and not even to know it! She drew her shoulders together, feeling very lonely and strong. As they talked, she allowed her eyes to rest first on one speaker and then ...
— The Happiest Time of Their Lives • Alice Duer Miller

... which it is condemned to grow, and of its dogged clinging to an ingrate soil; but it is a wretched expression of its innate possibilities. Shelley, on the contrary, is like a palm-tree in the desert or a star in the sky; he is perfect in the midst of the void. His obtuseness to things dynamic—to the material order—leaves his whole mind free to develop things aesthetic after their own kind; his abstraction permits purity, his playfulness makes room for creative freedom, his ethereal quality is ...
— Winds Of Doctrine - Studies in Contemporary Opinion • George Santayana

... nervously, but the young face showed his obtuseness, and John Barclay having broken the ice in his own heart put his hands in his pockets and threw back his head and roared, and then cried merrily: "All we need now is a chorus in fluffy skirts and an orchestra with me coming ...
— A Certain Rich Man • William Allen White

... had not comprehended "Prometheus Unbound"; and Shelley whimsically complains that even intelligent and sympathetic critics confounded the ideal passion described in "Epipsychidion" with the love affairs of "a servant-girl and her sweetheart." This almost incomprehensible obtuseness on the part of men who ought to have known better, combined with the coarse abuse of vulgar scribblers, was enough to make a man so sincerely modest as Shelley doubt his powers, or shrink from the severe labour of developing them. (See Medwin, volume 2 page 172, for Shelley's comment ...
— Percy Bysshe Shelley • John Addington Symonds

... special charm—nay more, that there is not some special excellence in the instruments of Amati or Stradivarius? If there be, we can leave to him, whilst the rest of mankind marvel at his self-sufficient obtuseness, to hold that it was nothing but his own imagination which so much influenced Hazlitt when he was touched to the heart by Edmund Kean's rendering of the words of the remorseful Moor, "Fool, fool, fool!" ...
— The Drama • Henry Irving

... to be gone, out into the sunshine, out over the water to my glorious boat. But all hands lingered. Even Spider, my crew, lingered. No hint broke through my obtuseness of why they lingered. I have often thought since of how they must have regarded me, the newcomer being welcomed into their company standing at bar with them, and not standing for a single ...
— John Barleycorn • Jack London

... proud woman would have given all she had if the past could be undone and Ethie restored to her just as she was that summer nine years ago, when she came from the huckleberry hills and stood beneath the maples. With a strange obtuseness peculiar to some people who have seen their dearest plans come to naught, she failed to ascribe the trouble to herself, but charged it all to Richard. He was the one in fault; and by the time the letter was finished the Bigelow blood was at a boiling pitch, ...
— Ethelyn's Mistake • Mary Jane Holmes

... commonly called "bulls," implying like the French "betise" so great a deficiency of observation as to approach a kind of brutish stupidity only worthy of the lower animals. A man could not be charged with such obtuseness if he were only ignorant of some philosophical truth, or even of a fact commonly known, or if his mistake were clearly from inadvertence. I have heard the question asked "Which is it more correct to say. Seven and five is eleven, or seven and five are eleven?" and if a man ...
— History of English Humour, Vol. 2 (of 2) • Alfred Guy Kingan L'Estrange

... ugliness of common things and common usages afflicted my new sensitiveness. Not that I am peculiarly alert to beauty, nor claim superior perception—I am no artist, either by virtue of vision or power of expression—but that a certain stagnant obtuseness, a kind of sordid and conservative veneration of the ugly that the English favour, distressed and even tortured me in a way I had never realized formerly. They were so proud to live without perception. An artist ...
— The Garden of Survival • Algernon Blackwood

... naturally enough inferred that his bed was something suitable to his digestive organs. It is certain that he committed an error of judgment, but that error may be traceable to the subtilty of his taste rather than to its obtuseness. We throw out this suggestion as a specimen, if nothing better, of what contradictory inferences may be drawn from a single fact, and as a hint of how much caution is necessary in arriving at absolute opinions, even when the evidence ...
— Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 419, New Series, January 10, 1852 • Various

... at the Rector so unguardedly, in saying this, that Pascualo, in spite of his corpulent obtuseness, caught the glimmer of an allusion and studied her face enquiringly. But his immense faith, at bottom, in people and in things stood him in good stead against any dangerous inference. And he protested, mildly, at her exaggeration. ...
— Mayflower (Flor de mayo) • Vicente Blasco Ibanez

... they were but taken in their own evildoings. And what is Isegrim, the worst of Reineke's victims, but a great heavy, stupid, lawless brute?—fair type, we will suppose, of not a few Front-de-Boeufs and other so-called nobles of the poet's era, whose will to do mischief was happily limited by their obtuseness. We remember that French baron—Gilbert de Retz, we believe, was his name—who, like Isegrim, had studied at the universities, and passed for learned, whose after-dinner pastime for many years, as it proved at last, was to cut children's throats for the pleasure of ...
— Short Studies on Great Subjects • James Anthony Froude

... his room, where Asako was sleeping peacefully. He was very English. Only the first surprise of the girl's kiss had startled his loyalty. With the ostrich-like obtuseness, which our continental neighbours call our hypocrisy, he buried his head in his principles. As Asako's husband, he could not flirt with another woman. As Reggie's friend, he would not flirt with Reggie's sweetheart. As an honourable man, he would not ...
— Kimono • John Paris

... call. The pretence that he has another call, a summons by name and personal election and outward "signs that mark him extraordinary, and not in the roll of common men," is fanaticism, and betrays obtuseness to perceive that there is one mind in all the individuals, and no respect of ...
— Essays, First Series • Ralph Waldo Emerson

... right. A hundred remembered incidents go to prove it. I recollect now that Judith has rallied me on my obtuseness. ...
— The Morals of Marcus Ordeyne • William J. Locke

... is at length informed of the progress of the inquiries, but shows a provoking obtuseness and ...
— Australian Writers • Desmond Byrne

... that Will Hayter had built a library and museum just before his death, six years before—the town from which his family had originally come. Her memory worked rapidly, constructing the story. The blood dyed her face at the thought of her obtuseness. Then she set her lips firmly. She had done her best; if a wanton fate chose to interfere now and make Millicent slave to the phantom of her early, radiant love, she, ...
— Life at High Tide - Harper's Novelettes • Various

... mental debility, loss of spirit and manliness, and occasional insanity, suicide and homicide. Moreover it leads to further uncontrollable passions in early manhood.... Further, this vice enfeebles the intellectual powers, inducing lethargy and obtuseness, and incapacity for hard mental work. And last, and most of all, it is an immorality which stains the whole character and undermines ...
— Youth and Sex • Mary Scharlieb and F. Arthur Sibly

... and evidently astonished Haviland, who, in his obtuseness, even now, could not perceive what objection his daughter could have to a match esteemed by him so advantageous. "What can this mean? Why, the girl must be demented! You to decide on the time! Why, reasonable time is all that was meant by ...
— The Rangers - [Subtitle: The Tory's Daughter] • D. P. Thompson

... tyranny; but also a winning sweetness, a ready and discriminating love for the beautiful, and a delicacy in the sympathies, the absence of which always made me sick in our own country. Here, at least, one does not suffer from obtuseness or indifference. They take pleasure, too, in acts of kindness; they are bountiful, but it is useless to hope the least honor in affairs of business. I cannot persuade those who serve me, however attached, that they should not deceive me, and plunder me. They think ...
— At Home And Abroad - Or, Things And Thoughts In America and Europe • Margaret Fuller Ossoli

... know he spent the greater part of them with Agatha Verrall. It was not to be desired that she should know. Her obtuseness helped them. Even in her younger and saner days she had failed, persistently, to realise any profound and poignant thing that touched him; so by the mercy of heaven she had never realised Agatha Verrall. She used to say that she had never seen anything in Agatha, which amounted, ...
— The Flaw in the Crystal • May Sinclair

... ugliness which some people find so puzzling in poets with an acute delight in beauty, like Mr. Masefield, come into it not from any aesthetic obtuseness, but because these uglinesses are full of the zest of drama, of things being done or made, of life being lived. When Masefield sounded his challenge ...
— Recent Developments in European Thought • Various

... Tested simply by touching with the finger, a certain degree of obtuseness is noted. By using an apparatus invented by Du Bois-Reymond and adopted by my father, the degree of sensibility obtained was 49.6 mm. in criminals as against 64.2 mm. in normal individuals. Criminals are more sensitive on the left side, contrary to normal persons, ...
— Criminal Man - According to the Classification of Cesare Lombroso • Gina Lombroso-Ferrero

... feelings by exposing the obtuseness of his ancestor Noureddin and the foolish superstition of his descendants ever since, Mr. Middleton said nothing of these transactions when once more he sat in the presence of the urbane and accomplished prince of the tribe of Al-Yam. Having handed him a bowl of delicately ...
— The Strange Adventures of Mr. Middleton • Wardon Allan Curtis

... orders it means crime; with the higher civilisation a legion of imps shrieking in a man's soul. I will not say that my particular band have been silent since I came here, for that would mean moral obtuseness; but they are placated, and have consented to fix a generous eye on the future. I believe, firmly believe, that my future will atone for my past,—morally, I mean; I want you to understand that I have wronged no man but myself, that I have been guilty of ...
— The Californians • Gertrude Franklin Horn Atherton

... His obtuseness to the cause of her indisposition, by evidencing his entire freedom from the suspicion of anything behind the scenes, showed how incapable Knight was of deception himself, rather than any inherent ...
— A Pair of Blue Eyes • Thomas Hardy

... best regulated families," said Walker, with vulgar, good-humoured obtuseness that filled Corey with indignation. Nothing, perhaps, removed his matter-of-fact nature further from the commonplace than a certain generosity of instinct, which I should not be ready to say ...
— Henry James, Jr. • William Dean Howells

... utter impatience of the brutality and ignorance which Bartoline had contrived to amalgamate into one sentence. But Saddletree, like other prosers, was blessed with a happy obtuseness of perception concerning the unfavourable impression which he sometimes made on his auditors. He proceeded to deal forth his scraps of legal knowledge without mercy, and concluded by asking Butler, with great self-complacency, "Was it na a pity my father didna ...
— The Heart of Mid-Lothian, Complete, Illustrated • Sir Walter Scott

... hollow, and at once forgot his supper in desire to sketch it. He had settled to the work with such complete absorption that Elias Abdul Messih, his companion, for once grew tired of the sound of his own voice, and left him, with a sigh for his obtuseness. And Iskender was glad to be rid of him, to lie alone and nurse his secret joy; for he had this day made the acquaintance of an Englishman, whose affability restored his pride of life. Might Allah bless that light-haired youth, ...
— The Valley of the Kings • Marmaduke Pickthall

... of habitually inattentive men could any one talk such nonsense without reproof, but I look in vain through Hansard's record of this debate for a single contemptuous reference to Mr. Chamberlain's obtuseness. And the rest of his speech was a lamentable account of the time and trouble he would have to spend upon his constituents if the new method came in. He was the perfect figure of the parochially important person in a state of defensive excitement. No doubt his ...
— In The Fourth Year - Anticipations of a World Peace (1918) • H.G. Wells

... she looked at no more apartments, and walked through gaunt and ill-cleaned streets, through the sordid under side of life, perplexed and troubled, ashamed of her previous obtuseness. ...
— Ann Veronica • H. G. Wells

... on waters of a certain smoothness at the reflecting level?—enough to justify demands for a vessel of finer design. If Society is to subsist, it must have the human with the logical argument against the cry of the free-flags, instead of presenting a block's obtuseness. That, you need not hesitate to believe, will be rolled downward and disintegrated, sooner than later. A Society based on the logical concrete of humane considerateness:—a Society prohibiting to Mrs. Burman her wielding of a life-long ...
— The Shaving of Shagpat • George Meredith

... and I am too candid. It would be a dangerous experiment. I should inevitably say something rude. Mabel adores Shelley and Browning; she reads Greek, too. Her poetry is sure to be unintelligible, and I should expose my obtuseness of intellect. I couldn't even look as ...
— Vixen, Volume I. • M. E. Braddon

... hour later, Jane watched him drive away, thinking to herself: "Deryck was right. But what a queer mixture of shrewdness and obtuseness, and how marvellously it worked out to the ...
— The Rosary • Florence L. Barclay

... or four flounces, and roses under bonnet, going forth to visit her sick poor. The incongruity struck the mind painfully—not merely as an incongruity, but as an impropriety—like a soldier going to the trenches in an opera hat and laced ruffles. Such follies, arising from individual obtuseness, must be met by regulation dictated by good sense, and submitted to as a ...
— Brave Men and Women - Their Struggles, Failures, And Triumphs • O.E. Fuller

... some of the more prominent traits of national character have shown themselves lately. Among other things, the artists have taken to caricaturing the cholera! One gets to be so hardened by exposure, as to be able to laugh at even these proofs of moral obtuseness. Odd enough traits of character are developed by seeing men under such trying circumstances. During one of the worst periods of the disease, I met a countryman in the street, who, though otherwise a clever ...
— A Residence in France - With An Excursion Up The Rhine, And A Second Visit To Switzerland • J. Fenimore Cooper

... She'd be furious now if she knew I'd spoken right out. But you don't want to be treated like a little girl all your life, do you?" He laughed at her speechless embarrassment with a kind obtuseness to the horror of youth at seeing its shy fastnesses of reserve laid open to indifferent feet. Divining, however, through his affection for her, that she was really more than pleasantly startled by his bluntness, ...
— The Squirrel-Cage • Dorothy Canfield

... obtuseness of mind on a question of interest, is to be found in the system of taxing the land. A Greek really views land somewhat as English labourers view game. The owner of the soil is absolute proprietor only ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine - Volume 55, No. 344, June, 1844 • Various

... said, 'From three things cross the road to avoid: a falling tree, your chief and second wives whispering in agreement, and a goat wearing a leopard's tail,'" replied Lin, thus rebuking Wang Ho, not only for his crafty intention, but also as to the obtuseness of the proverb he had quoted. "Nevertheless, O Wang Ho, I approach you on a matter of ...
— Kai Lung's Golden Hours • Ernest Bramah

... sometimes didn't understand what was meant, and would do the thing in her own way. She wouldn't see at first the various little good turns which the other did her in her quiet, considerate way; but they were acknowledged at last with a look that made amends for all her former obtuseness; and in spite of their different natures and unequal social position, these two women soon came to feel, if not exactly drawn to one another, mutually interested in each other. At the same time, as Elizabeth ...
— The Pilot and his Wife • Jonas Lie

... of Gerson's treatises at Cologne earlier than the year 1470? and if good cause cannot be shown for withholding from them so high a rank in the scale of typographic being, must we not instantly reject every effort to extenuate Marchand's obtuseness in asserting with reference to Ulric Zell, "On ne voit des editions de ce Zell qu'en 1494?" (Hist. de l'Imp., p. 56.) {183} Schelhorn's opinion as to the birthright of these tracts is sufficient to awaken an interest ...
— Notes and Queries, Number 71, March 8, 1851 • Various

... Charles the Second, just one hundred years before George the Third ascended the throne, the English colonies in America struggled manfully for prosperity against the unjust and illiberal commercial policy of Great Britain. With a strange obtuseness of perception in regard to the elements of national prosperity, which the truths of modern political economy now clearly illustrate to the common mind, the British government sought to fill its coffers from the products of colonial industry, by imposing upon their commerce ...
— Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Vol. 3, July, 1851 • Various

... Kenyon, with a glance of friendly commiseration at my obtuseness, "that Miriam had utterly disappeared, leaving no trace by which her whereabouts could be known. In the meantime, the municipal authorities had become aware of the murder of the Capuchin; and from many preceding circumstances, such as his persecution of Miriam, they must ...
— The Marble Faun, Volume II. - The Romance of Monte Beni • Nathaniel Hawthorne

... this disability weighs me down with a sense of hopeless obtuseness when I consider the deportment of the average intelligent Scot at a Burns banquet, or a Burns conversazione, or a Burns festival, or the unveiling of a Burns statue, or the putting up of a pillar on some spot made famous by Burns. All over the world—and all ...
— Adventures in Criticism • Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

... really appreciated Charles—though she was dazzled by his fame at intervals—didn't really appreciate him to this day. Well, the loss was hers and the gain indubitably Felicia's, since the elder sister's obtuseness had left the younger sister a free field.—At thought of which Felicia ...
— Deadham Hard • Lucas Malet

... to Mass, and the fool had taken shelter in the porch of the gallery, that there he might vent some of his ill-humour—or indeed indulge it—in pondering the obtuseness of woman and the insidiousness of Gonzaga, to whom he never doubted that this miserable state of ...
— Love-at-Arms • Raphael Sabatini

... for this Chinese obtuseness, or, as some would have it, opacity, in much the same way. Under the head of Natural Phenomena, he writes: "It is a question of more than ordinary interest to those who regard the Chinese people as a worthy object of study, What are ...
— Moon Lore • Timothy Harley

... these brokers were powerless, in face of Lord Ferriby's announcement, to prevent the price of malgamite from falling. As this fell so fell the prices of the many kinds of paper which could not be manufactured without it. Thus indirectly, Lord Ferriby, with that obtuseness which very often finds itself in company with a highly developed philanthropy, touched the daily lives of thousands and thousands of people. And he did not know it. And Tony Cornish knew it not. And Joan and the subscribers never dreamt or ...
— Roden's Corner • Henry Seton Merriman

... rapid strides in that branch of knowledge to which my attention was directed. A mind hitherto dark seemed suddenly to grow clear, and it remained clear and bright enough so long as passion was in me; but as it died, so the mind clouded, and recoiled to its original obtuseness. Couldn't and wouldn't were in my case curiously involved; nor have I in this respect ever been able to correct my natural temperament. I have always remained powerless to do anything unless ...
— Confessions of a Young Man • George Moore

... enjoy so greatly that pastime. I discovered that he was terrified of his brother, Alexei, and at that I was not surprised. His weakness was that he was inpenetrably stupid, and it was quite impossible to make him understand anything that was not immediately in line with his own experiences—unusual obtuseness in a Russian. He was vain about his clothes, especially about his shoes, which he had always made in London; he was sentimental and ...
— The Secret City • Hugh Walpole

... envied Henry James the conviction he seems to have had, all his life, that Europeans are a good deal more unlike other people than I ever found them. It may be obtuseness on my part, but I never could see that people who lived in the Basses-Pyrenees are any more cultivated or had any broader horizons than people who live in the Green Mountains. My own experience is that when you actually live with people, day after day, year after year, you ...
— The Brimming Cup • Dorothy Canfield Fisher

... tolerating him, then?—you have a respect for a political platitudinarian as insensible as an ox to everything he can't turn into political capital. You think his monumental obtuseness suited to the dignity ...
— Daniel Deronda • George Eliot

... pleasure," answered Will, and a smile broke over his face which proved that such a state of affairs would give him great gratification. His stupidity and obtuseness had disappeared, he felt he was a hero and deliverer, and was very well satisfied with himself. Marietta looked up at ...
— The Northern Light • E. Werner

... J. M. Barrie would have handled this! The humour of either would have danced round the crass obtuseness of the deputation and the mingled wrath and amusement of the minister. The story bristles with opportunity for the presentation of human contrast. The chances are all there, and a story-teller of anything like genuine faculty could not have failed to see and to utilise some of them. Mr. Crockett ...
— My Contemporaries In Fiction • David Christie Murray

... several years. Such remarks are for the most part made by men who, in good faith, have not the least idea that they are making themselves disagreeable. There is no malicious intention. It is a matter of pure obtuseness, stupidity, selfishness, and vulgarity. But an obtuse, stupid, selfish, and vulgar person is disagreeable. And your right course will be to carefully avoid all ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 10, No. 58, August, 1862 • Various

... Sleek hair, brisk glance, fleshy and yet alert, Red, full, and satisfied, Cased in obtuseness confident not to ...
— Miscellany of Poetry - 1919 • Various

... the Seigneur stood pondering the Earl's words and angrily wondering at his obtuseness. Then suddenly he knew he had been mocked, and he turned and ran after his enemy; but Leicester had vanished into the ...
— The Judgment House • Gilbert Parker

... line in the hand which he calls the linea jecoraria, and the triangle formed by this and the linea vitae and the linea cerebri, rules the disposition of the subject, due consideration being given to the acuteness or obtuseness of the angles of this triangle. Cardan seems to have based his treatise on one written by a certain Ruffus Ephesius, and it is without doubt one of the dullest portions ...
— Jerome Cardan - A Biographical Study • William George Waters

... she said, irritated at such obtuseness. "I got worried thinkin' it over, for it was me told that pardner o' yours—" She smiled wickedly. "I expected McGinty'd have some fun with the young feller, but I didn't expect you'd be such a Hatter." She wound up with the popular reference ...
— The Magnetic North • Elizabeth Robins (C. E. Raimond)

... as I have heard it in the Midland or Mercian region. It is a just demand that art should keep clear of such specialties as would make it a puzzle for the larger part of its public; still, one is not bound to respect the lazy obtuseness or snobbish ignorance of people who do not care to know more of their native tongue than the vocabulary of the ...
— George Eliot; A Critical Study of Her Life, Writings & Philosophy • George Willis Cooke

... is meant by Deity, men have gradually destroyed that sense of moral responsibility which the most savage show to have been a common heritage. It is not among the lowest and most simple races that missionaries find the greatest degree of obtuseness and insensibility with respect to sin; it is among populations like those of India, where the natural promptings of conscience have been sophisticated by philosophic theories. The old Vedantism, by representing all things as mere phenomenal expressions of infinite Brahm, tended necessarily ...
— Oriental Religions and Christianity • Frank F. Ellinwood

... deeper and deeper; the conversation fell entirely to Robert. At last Robert, by main force, as it were, got Wardlaw off into politics, but the new Irish Coercion Bill was hardly introduced before the irrepressible being turned to Catherine, and said to her with smiling obtuseness...
— Robert Elsmere • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... admirable Paintings, I cannot say that my expectations were fully realized. Ill health may in part account for this; my recent acquaintance with the immense and multiform treasures of Art at Rome may also help explain my obtuseness at Florence. And yet I saw nothing in Rome with greater pleasure or profit than I derived from the hour I spent in the studio of our countryman POWERS, whose fame is already world-wide, and who I trust is now rapidly acquiring that generous competence ...
— Glances at Europe - In a Series of Letters from Great Britain, France, Italy, - Switzerland, &c. During the Summer of 1851. • Horace Greeley

... dead," said Mr. Bingle, vaguely surprised by the other's obtuseness. "That's why ...
— Mr. Bingle • George Barr McCutcheon

... afraid I should have shamed his obtuseness. V—— has nothing to recommend him that I know of, except his beauty, and that is the beauty of a petit-maitre—effeminate, without character, and very unlikely, I should judge, to attract such a woman as you give me ...
— Woman in the Ninteenth Century - and Kindred Papers Relating to the Sphere, Condition - and Duties, of Woman. • Margaret Fuller Ossoli

... every sense of the word, of human creatures, is so constantly obvious, as mingled and spread throughout the whole system, that the mind has been insensibly wrought to that protective obtuseness which (like the thickness of the natural clothing of animals in rigorous climates) we acquire in defence of our own ease, against the aggrievance of things which inevitably continue in our presence. An instinctive policy to avoid feeling with respect to this prevailing ...
— An Essay on the Evils of Popular Ignorance • John Foster

... looked provokingly innocent. So her mother took a long step forward, for in truth she grew impatient with all this obtuseness in which, for reasons of her own, she ...
— Love Eternal • H. Rider Haggard

... consistently. He experimented with each play, watched its effect on his audiences, asked himself seriously whether their apparent want of interest in this or that portion was due to some defect in his work or to their own obtuseness. He had failures, but remarkably few, and they did not discourage him; nor did momentary success in one field prevent him from abandoning it for another in which he hoped to accomplish greater things. He is his own severest critic, and in his autobiography speaks ...
— The German Classics Of The Nineteenth And Twentieth Centuries, Volume 12 • Various



Words linked to "Obtuseness" :   acuteness, oscitance, bluntness, obtuse, stupidity, oscitancy



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