Word of the Week: Acute

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Alex Dos Diaz / Verywell

Each week, Verywell explains a term from health, medicine, science, or technology.


How to say itAcute (ah-KEWT)

What it means: Coming on suddenly or severely.

Where it comes from: From Latin, acūtus, a sharpened point; a violent onset.

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Where you might see or hear it: Many health conditions can be described as being acute, meaning that they last a short time (compared to a chronic condition, which lasts a long time).

When you might want to use it: One example of an acute illness that many people are familiar with is appendicitis. It tends to come on suddenly and severely, and typically only lasts a short while (and is solved by having your appendix removed).

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