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Obtuseness   Listen
noun
Obtuseness  n.  State or quality of being obtuse.






Collaborative International Dictionary of English 0.48








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"Obtuseness" Quotes from Famous Books



... probably, other than conscientious men. What they do is to think with specialized minds. All dominant types have been more or less specialized, if none so much as this, and this specialization has caused, as I understand it, that obtuseness of perception which has been their ruin when the environment which favored them has changed. All that is remarkable about the modern capitalist is the excess of his excentricity, or his deviation from that resultant of forces to ...
— The Theory of Social Revolutions • Brooks Adams

... 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

... smiled indulgently at her son's masculine obtuseness. The subtleties of women were so far beyond his comprehension that it was hardly worth while to endeavor to make him understand. She made the ...
— Princess • Mary Greenway McClelland

... side to catch sight of the mate whose voice had so resistlessly summoned him. Only his wide ears moved, waving inquisitively. His nostrils, ordinarily his chief source of information, were dulled almost to obtuseness by that subtly acrid ...
— The Watchers of the Trails - A Book of Animal Life • Charles G. D. Roberts

... committee held its first sitting. On Sir Matthew's right sat Lord Milford, a wealthy peer of independent political opinions and great obtuseness, by whose social prestige Sir Matthew was greatly impressed; on his left Mr. Doubleday, the leader of the Labour Party in the House of Commons. Ranged on either side, according to their importance, sat the various other ...
— War-time Silhouettes • Stephen Hudson

... soothing, sleep-compelling chant from sundown until precisely half past four in the morning, when it suddenly stops and by its silence awakens everybody it has lulled into slumber with its insidious croon. Mr. Hearn, with strange obtuseness to the enormity of the thing, blandly remarks: "For thousands of early risers too poor to own a clock, the cessation of its song is the signal to get up." I devoutly trust that none of the West India islands furnishing such satanic entomological specimens will ever be ...
— Ponkapog Papers • Thomas Bailey Aldrich

... small, pathetic laugh, which expressed a certain physical faintness, and reproached him with insupportable gentleness for his selfish obtuseness. ...
— Indian Summer • William D. Howells

... unaccented, which is equivalent to ee uttered feebly, as in the word diversity. This is the 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 ...
— The Grammar of English Grammars • Goold Brown

... about her, something bordering upon enthusiasm in the way she repelled an attempted incursion upon the forbidden ground. And withal she was so tender and sympathetic toward all mankind, that her wilful obtuseness on the subject of love bore to him the appearance of wanton cruelty. It did not occur to him that she might be acting in self-defence, fearing to give the slightest rein to a feeling which might, ...
— Stories by American Authors, Volume 10 • Various

... misinterpreting the gratitude of the audience that it was over for a 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 two plantation songs. The audience was now examining its programmes in the interval of silence in order to ascertain the duration of the sentence ...
— Three Men and a Maid • P. G. Wodehouse

... role of a prosecutor, and to argue was to tread on dangerous ground. I had done what I believed right. I had kept my promise. So I rose to go. I must have given Rufus Blight a strange look as I held out my hand. I was furious at him for his obtuseness or his cunning, and I must have shown it, for he returned my gaze with a puzzled stare. Then a gleam of light filtered into that brain, so competent to deal with steel-works, so ...
— David Malcolm • Nelson Lloyd

... 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 ...
— The Flaw in the Crystal • May Sinclair

... that the visit was conducted with the most perfect propriety in 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 having thus been foiled of his purpose, for ...
— The Guardian Angel • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

... 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

... wear that pair of old shoes?'—'Holloa, Bess! is that your party-rig? I should think you were going out for a walking advertisement of a flower-store!'—Observations of this kind between husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, or intimate friends, do not indicate sincerity, but obtuseness; and the person who remarks on the pimple on your nose is in many cases just as apt to deceive you as the most accomplished Frenchwoman who avoids disagreeable topics in ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 16, No. 93, July, 1865 • Various

... that she did not care for her old comrade as much as when they were children and was taking this tactful way of showing him the fact. Mrs. Cameron was in a state of mingled indignation and despair over such masculine obtuseness, and vowed that if young MacDonald were not politely requested to discontinue his attentions to Captain Herbert's niece, she would feel it her duty to send ...
— The Silver Maple • Marian Keith

... passions they may be molded by genius to make the many serve the few and to build up an autocracy. Nor are the lessons to be learned from history applicable only to individuals. The faults of an emperor are felt in every household of the community, and injure the State. Indifference and obtuseness at the capital entailed weakness on the frontier and in the provincial capitals. The barbarians grew defiant and aggressive, and defeated the imperial forces. The provincial governors asserted their independence, and founded ruling ...
— China • Demetrius Charles Boulger

... storyteller. He was an atrocious liar, but this fact would not have been evident to his enthralled listeners if his cowboy comrades, in base jealousy, had not betrayed him. The truth about his remarkable fabrications, however, had not become known to Castleton, solely because of the Englishman's obtuseness. And there was another thing much stranger than this and quite as amusing. Dorothy Coombs knew Monty was a liar; but she was so fascinated by the glittering, basilisk eyes he riveted upon her, so taken in by his horrible tales of blood, that despite her knowledge ...
— The Light of Western Stars • Zane Grey

... improvements; we fail to see in his reign any principle of "initiation," save that which the Ruler of the universe has implanted in every system and in every government. Yet we concede the right of others to think differently on these points, without being suspected of moral obtuseness or obliquity. Especially can we comprehend how a patriotic Frenchman should choose to accept all the conditions of his epoch, and embrace every opportunity of aiding in the task ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 17, No. 102, April, 1866 • Various

... the lower 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 no act unbecoming a gentleman. Now look at ...
— The Californians • Gertrude Franklin Horn Atherton

... have been very comic; "like a dying duck," as Edith Gervase said. Edith was really very pretty, and he would have liked to talk to her, even about fox-terriers, if she would have listened. One afternoon at the Dixons' he really forced himself upon her, and with all the obtuseness of an enthusiastic boy tried to discuss the Lotus Eaters of Tennyson. It was too absurd. Captain Kempton was making signals to Edith all the time, and Lieutenant Gatwick had gone off in disgust, and he had promised to bring her ...
— The Hill of Dreams • Arthur Machen

... was given, not to Great Britain only, but to the world; and we to-day see, in the contrasted colonial systems of the two states, the results, on the one hand of political aptitude, on the other of political obtuseness and backwardness, which cannot struggle from the past into the present until the present in turn has become ...
— The Interest of America in Sea Power, Present and Future • A. T. Mahan

... 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

... quantitative, that is to say, purely exterior (having regard to the wealth of life), and not qualitative (the goodness of life). Always the same tendency to take the appearance for the thing, the form for the substance, the law for the essence, always the same absence of moral personality, the same obtuseness of conscience, which has never recognized sin present in the will, which places evil outside of man, moralizes from outside, and transforms to its own liking the whole lesson of history! What is at fault is the philosophic superficiality of France, which ...
— Amiel's Journal • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... 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 was not blind to the diplomacy of the house, she had ...
— The Pilot and his Wife • Jonas Lie

... impression which the memoirs convey that the writer himself had not the faintest conception that there was anything in the least degree unseemly in what he relates. There appears to be a sort of moral obtuseness in him in reference to these subjects, but to these subjects only.[676] The memoir closes with a beautiful expression of resignation to the Divine will, and of hopeful confidence about the future, in which he was no doubt perfectly sincere. And yet he openly avows a laxity of ...
— The English Church in the Eighteenth Century • Charles J. Abbey and John H. Overton

... joke as well as any man in New York, and was not at all averse from chaffing some of his less gifted colleagues when their obtuseness or faithful adherence to the letter of instructions permitted a criminal to befool them; but he resented the levity of Curtis's tone now, though, deep in his heart, he felt ...
— One Wonderful Night - A Romance of New York • Louis Tracy

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

... 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

... and coral to her. Of course, much is to be said in excuse of man, brute though he be. Consider the multiplicity of his occupations, the practical nature of his cares. But granting the validity of all such excuse, there is in man an original obtuseness of fibre as regards sentiment in comparison with the delicacy of woman's. It comes, perhaps, from the same hardness of constitution which forbids us the luxury of ready tears. Thus it is very difficult for the wisest man to understand ...
— The Parisians, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... happen in the 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 ...
— Henry James, Jr. • William Dean Howells

... unable to distinguish the strident noise of the tram-car wheels, or the deafening crash of ill-tuned instruments from the harmonies of Bellini or Wagner; that each of us would blush for such insensibility, and would conceal it—how is it we do not perceive that such obtuseness is habitual to us in moral matters? We see that we are capable of confusing virtuous persons and criminals, without any foreboding. How is it that so often in the case of judicial errors, the voice of the innocent did not resound in our ears, ...
— Spontaneous Activity in Education • Maria Montessori

... 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 ...
— A Bibliographical, Antiquarian and Picturesque Tour in France and Germany, Volume One • Thomas Frognall Dibdin

... them in an indolent, insolent fashion, to show them what a great person he was, and to speak of things beyond their ken. Playing this part, he would have enjoyed himself tolerably—nor the less because now and again he let his contempt for the company peep from under his complaisance—but for the obtuseness, or the malice of his friend; who, as if he had only one man and one idea in his head, let fall with every moment some mention of Colonel John. Now, it was the happy certainty of the Colonel's return next ...
— The Wild Geese • Stanley John Weyman

... to say in reply. As if anyone could be more suffering than himself! He was full of a dumb ache. He marvelled at Keith's obtuseness. ...
— South Wind • Norman Douglas

... to lose itself in the green gloom of the impenetrable woods. One of these huge cascades would make the fortune of a Swiss valley, and we need no further efforts of our willing bearers in the cause of sight-seeing, but as neither words nor gestures prove intelligible to Western obtuseness, a brown coolie seizes each arm, and rushes us up a grassy hill to a huge cavern, hung with myriad bats, and containing a pool of crystal water. The simple minds of these kindly mountaineers shirk no trouble for the benefit of the stranger, who, ...
— Through the Malay Archipelago • Emily Richings

... 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 ...
— Percy Bysshe Shelley • John Addington Symonds

... at the obtuseness and inconvincibility of man and went to read the leader in The Daily Telegraph to Mrs. Ware. Austin, with a smile on his lips, wandered out into the sunshine ...
— Viviette • William J. Locke

... looked at her with a kind of despair for her feminine obtuseness. "That is quite out of the question," he said, "and Charteris knows it. If he went on, ...
— The Path to Honour • Sydney C. Grier

... one 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. And such is your love; but you give the proof ...
— Tommy and Grizel • J.M. Barrie

... 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 ...
— My Contemporaries In Fiction • David Christie Murray

... visit, he saw her each day for longer intervals, and realized very quickly that she had no intention of shunning him or punishing him before the world, as he had feared that she would do. She was so quiet, so gentle to him, that, with all a man's obtuseness where women are concerned, he congratulated himself on being let off so easily, and thought that the matter was to be buried in oblivion. He even wondered a little at Nan's savoir-faire, and felt a vague sense of disappointment mingling ...
— Name and Fame - A Novel • Adeline Sergeant

... just a little too sure of their superiority to the English in point of humour, and indeed they often carry their witticisms on the supposed English "obtuseness" to a point at which exaggeration ceases to be funny. It is certainly not every American who scoffs at English wit that is entitled to do so. There are dullards in the United States as well as elsewhere; and nothing can well be more ghastly than American humour run ...
— The Land of Contrasts - A Briton's View of His American Kin • James Fullarton Muirhead

... nothing escaped his intelligence. To Hilda, shocked by the coarseness and the obtuseness which evidently characterized his attitude, now as on other occasions, this self-confidence was desolating; it was ...
— Hilda Lessways • Arnold Bennett

... made 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, with wouldn't, was 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

... excited,—then I made 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 moved by a ...
— Confessions of a Young Man • George Moore

... 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

... sums up the highest product of Greek thought, and that represents a civilization which from the purely intellectual side has had no successor. Yet even here was almost absolute obtuseness and indifference, on the part of the aristocracy, to the intolerable bondage of the masses. "The people," as spoken of by their historians and philosophers, mean simply a middle class, the humblest member ...
— Women Wage-Earners - Their Past, Their Present, and Their Future • Helen Campbell

... 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 ...
— The Marble Faun, Volume II. - The Romance of Monte Beni • Nathaniel Hawthorne

... Neither the lonely mystical thinker nor the captivating buffoon could do more than ripple its surface. As superficial as Springfield, it lacked Springfield's impulsive generosity. To the long record of its obtuseness it had added another item. The gods had sent it a great man and it had no eyes to see. It was destined ...
— Lincoln • Nathaniel Wright Stephenson

... Howth, relying on the influence of time and place to help him in 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 ...
— The Tragic Bride • Francis Brett Young

... "scientific authority" with a feeling akin to that of the savage for his family fetich. They are well deserved, nevertheless, as a few examples will show. To such intellects as Prof. Weber's—whom we take as the leader of the German Orientalists of the type of Christophiles—certainly the word "obtuseness" cannot be applied. Upon seeing how chronology is deliberately and maliciously perverted in favour of "Greek influence," Christian interests and his own predetermined theories—another, and even a stronger term should be applied. What expression is too severe to signify one's ...
— Five Years Of Theosophy • Various

... were all of opinion generally that the plaintiff had been illegally arrested. This vague answer did not satisfy his Lordship, and he repeated his question. He could not, however, obtain a more satisfactory reply. Evidently vexed at what he deemed the obtuseness or partiality of the jury, he turned to the bar, and said, that a spirit of a mischievous and destructive nature was abroad, which, if not repressed, threatened awful consequences. The country would be lost, he said, and the government overturned, if such a spirit were encouraged; ...
— Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions - Vol. I • Charles Mackay

... system. But little good will my preaching or that of any one else do them, while they disregard the first and plainest principles of honesty. There is no lack of ability to give a minister the support he needs; and the withholding of that support, or the supplying of it by constraint, shows a moral obtuseness that argues but poorly for their love of any thing but themselves. I believe that the labourer is worthy of his hire; that when men build a church and call a minister for their own spiritual good, they are bound to supply his natural wants; and that, ...
— Lessons in Life, For All Who Will Read Them • T. S. Arthur

... he? Why, indeed?" repeated Fitz, amazed at her obtuseness. "Don't you see that, if the child died, the block of stores belongs to my mother? But it makes no difference now," sighed Mr. Wittleworth, "for my mother, contrary to my advice, contrary to my solemn protest, sold out all her right in the premises ...
— Make or Break - or, The Rich Man's Daughter • Oliver Optic

... 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 on the other, as if she were following each word of the discussion. ...
— The Happiest Time of Their Lives • Alice Duer Miller

... 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

... 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 furtherance of ...
— The Rosary • Florence L. Barclay

... to get back 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 ...
— The Privet Hedge • J. E. Buckrose

... 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 man, has the weakness ...
— A Residence in France - With An Excursion Up The Rhine, And A Second Visit To Switzerland • J. Fenimore Cooper

... ill-prepared to meet it.... It also causes muscular and 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

... sorry 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

... and her maid came with her candle and her walking-stick: it was her habit of late to go to her room as soon as dinner was over, for she had no one to sit up with. Rickie was impressed by her loneliness, and also by the mixture in her of insight and obtuseness. She was so quick, so clear-headed, so imaginative even. But all the same, she had forgotten what people were like. Finding life dull, she had dropped lies into it, as a chemist drops a new element into a solution, ...
— The Longest Journey • E. M. Forster

... 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 ...
— Glances at Europe - In a Series of Letters from Great Britain, France, Italy, - Switzerland, &c. During the Summer of 1851. • Horace Greeley

... performance the applause which it plainly deserves. The self-evolution of England, as it may perhaps be called, in its economic, political, and literary life, offers an admirable model of concentration and energy. Even where it is a case of obtuseness to other civilisations, at least as high but of a different type, the verdict cannot be wholly unfavourable. The Kingdom of Earth is to the thick-skinned, and bad manners have a distinct vital value. A man, too sensitive to the rights ...
— The Open Secret of Ireland • T. M. Kettle

... as if nothing had happened. I may have been rather absent, reflecting pensively. I mean to say, I had at times considered this alliance as a dawning possibility, but never had I meant to be sudden. Only for the woman's remarkably stubborn obtuseness I dare say the understanding might have been deferred to a more suitable moment and arranged in a calm and orderly manner. But the die was cast. Like his lordship, I had chosen an American bride—taken her by storm and carried her off ...
— Ruggles of Red Gap • Harry Leon Wilson

... a man as brilliant and as penetrant in every other respect ... but after all, if the big dope didn't realize that half the women aboard, including Sandy, had been making passes at him, she certainly wouldn't enlighten him. Besides, that one particular area of obtuseness was a real part of his charm. Wherefore she said merely: "I'm not sure whether I'm a bit catty or you're a bit stupid. Anyway, it's Alex she's really in love with. And you already ...
— Masters of Space • Edward Elmer Smith

... man been endowed with the slightest capacity for perceiving the feelings of others, and had he at all understood what Pierre's feelings were, the latter would probably have left him, but the man's animated obtuseness to everything other than ...
— War and Peace • Leo Tolstoy

... Father Beret and never openly sanctioned by Captain Farnsworth. The talk was insinuating on the part of the former, while the latter slipped evasively from every proposition, as if not able to consider it on account of a curious obtuseness of perception. Still, when they separated they shook hands and exchanged a searching look perfectly satisfactory ...
— Alice of Old Vincennes • Maurice Thompson

... for granted that the subjection of the spirit is indescribably PAINFUL, that all the past and all the habits of such a spirit resist the absurdissimum, in the form of which "faith" comes to it. Modern men, with their obtuseness as regards all Christian nomenclature, have no longer the sense for the terribly superlative conception which was implied to an antique taste by the paradox of the formula, "God on the Cross". Hitherto there had never and nowhere been such boldness ...
— Beyond Good and Evil • Friedrich Nietzsche

... eked 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 bad seasons, borne with ...
— The Doings Of Raffles Haw • Arthur Conan Doyle

... still 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 did ...
— Love Eternal • H. Rider Haggard

... 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, ...
— The Dawn of Reason - or, Mental Traits in the Lower Animals • James Weir

... workmanlike disgust for his own obtuseness. "I'm going back to the Tech when your railroad is finished and learn a few things. I couldn't think of anything but the old Erie Railroad scheme, when it was narrowed down from the six-foot gauge. They did it in one night; but they had a man to every second ...
— Empire Builders • Francis Lynde

... he asked, anxiously, and with all a man's obtuseness. "You didn't happen to come to grief in any way? I didn't fall on ...
— At Love's Cost • Charles Garvice

... anxious 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 ...
— John Barleycorn • Jack London

... A constitutional obtuseness renders me delightfully insensible to one fruitful source of provocation among inanimate things. I am so dull as to regard all distinctions between "rights" and "lefts" as invidious; but I have witnessed the agonized struggles of many a victim of fractious boots, and been thankful that ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 14, No. 83, September, 1864 • Various

... reason, just as you would in vain exhibit a curious piece of limning to the blind, or endeavour to bribe, as scripture saith, a sow by the offer of a precious stone. The fault is not, in such case, in the accuracy of your sacred reasoning, but in the obtuseness and perverseness of the barbarians to whom it ...
— Waverley Volume XII • Sir Walter Scott

... willing to dispense with thought during the intervening space of time before a not overly agreeable ending; and under the auspices of an honoured hostess fee'd by the glitter of coin into a consenting obtuseness. With the night they set forth in the rain. The river bank was not far off, but such vulgar plunge from the edge of the coarse promiscuity of Hanagawado[u] was not to the taste of either. Then, as now, a ferry not far from the Adzuma ...
— Bakemono Yashiki (The Haunted House) - Tales of the Tokugawa, Volume 2 (of 2) • James S. De Benneville

... education, and by the reception of those principles of self- reliance, without which they have not the moral perception requisite to enable them to appreciate the blessings of freedom; and this very ignorance and obtuseness is one of the most telling arguments against the system which produces it. The want of this previous preparation has been frequently shown, particularly in Kentucky, where whole bodies of emancipated slaves, after ...
— The Englishwoman in America • Isabella Lucy Bird

... a book is often obscurity; and an author whose meaning is got at only by severe mental exertion, and a straining of the mind's eye, is generally weak in the backbone of him. Occasionally it is the dullness of the reader, but oftener the obtuseness of the writer. ...
— Our Friend John Burroughs • Clara Barrus

... about the obtuseness," he commented, "because she is really rather nice to look at. She has improved so ...
— Winding Paths • Gertrude Page

... 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 ...
— Due West - or Round the World in Ten Months • Maturin Murray Ballou

... in 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, ...
— The Heart of Mid-Lothian, Complete, Illustrated • Sir Walter Scott

... said Hazel emphatically, with a passing thought of wonder at his obtuseness, though at the moment she was deep in her ...
— The Gold of Chickaree • Susan Warner

... 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

... wonderful skill. As for the various anachronisms, and the confusion of names, dates, and manners, over which Dr. Johnson exults in no measured terms, the confusion is nowhere but in his own heavy obtuseness of sentiment and perception, and his want of poetical faith. Look into the old Italian poets, whom we read continually with still increasing pleasure; does any one think of sitting down to disprove the existence ...
— Characteristics of Women - Moral, Poetical, and Historical • Anna Jameson

... has grown quite rusty from 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 ...
— The Elm Tree Tales • F. Irene Burge Smith

... wrote wittily), "I have no desire to exult over you, yet I should show a lamentable obtuseness to the irony of things were I not to dedicate this little work to you. For its inception was yours, and in your more ambitious days you thought to write the tale of the little white bird yourself. Why you so early deserted the ...
— The Little White Bird - or Adventures In Kensington Gardens • J. M. Barrie

... civilizations. Unless life is arranged for the mere benefit of the novelist, what right had these bits of last-century Europe here? Even the virtues of the South were some of them anachronisms; and even those that were not existed side by side with an obtuseness of moral sense that could make a hero of Semmes, and a barbarism that could starve prisoners by ...
— The Writings of James Russell Lowell in Prose and Poetry, Volume V - Political Essays • James Russell Lowell

... 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

... emphatically alone, and of the people there was none with 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 everlasting honor—poor ...
— Godliness • Catherine Booth

... 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 ...
— Tales of the Chesapeake • George Alfred Townsend

... employed,—in their own behalf, at least, if not for our beloved 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 wagon-load of valuable merchandise had been smuggled ashore, at noonday, perhaps, and directly beneath their unsuspicious noses,—nothing could exceed the vigilance ...
— The Scarlet Letter • Nathaniel Hawthorne

... indifference originate in a physical or a moral cause, from an obtuseness in their corporeal formation or a perfection in their intellectual one, I do not pretend to decide; but whatever be the cause, the effect is enjoyed with great modesty. So little do the French pique themselves on this valuable stoicism, that they acknowledge ...
— A Residence in France During the Years 1792, 1793, 1794 and 1795, • An English Lady

... happiness by making it a source of fresh obligations, had from the outset accepted his ties with an exaggerated devotion. Any disregard of such a claim would have vulgarized her most delicate pleasures; and her husband's sensitiveness to it in great measure extenuated the artistic obtuseness that often seemed to her like a failure of the moral sense. His loyalty to the dull women who depended on him was, after all, compounded of finer tissues than any ...
— Crucial Instances • Edith Wharton

... girl leered 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

... tales the Evil One is depicted as an agent in the destruction of his own kingdom. He thus shows his obtuseness, or his subordination to a higher power. In the story that follows, he is outwitted by a Welshman. Many variants of this tale are found in many countries. It is evident from this and like stories, that it was believed the Spirit of Evil could easily be circumvented by an intelligent ...
— Welsh Folk-Lore - a Collection of the Folk-Tales and Legends of North Wales • Elias Owen

... morality to which the modern stage is tied down would not admit of such admirable passions as these scenes are filled with. A Puritanical obtuseness of sentiment, a stupid infantile goodness, is creeping among us, instead of the vigorous passions and virtues clad in flesh and blood, with which the old dramatists present us. Those noble and liberal casuists could discern in the differences, ...
— Charles Lamb • Walter Jerrold

... time 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

... placed in front of the case," Challoner persisted; and Mrs. Keith found it hard to forgive him for his obtuseness. ...
— The Intriguers • Harold Bindloss

... armed in his splendid masculine obtuseness, stooped to kiss his wife's hot cheek, and said, as was inevitable, the last thing he should have ...
— Other People's Business - The Romantic Career of the Practical Miss Dale • Harriet L. Smith

... other species now included in the genus. There are three species, occurring only in European waters, which form this genus and agree in the following characters. The outline of the body is more nearly rectangular than in other Flat-fishes from the obtuseness of the snout and caudal end, and the somewhat uniform breadth of the body. The surface is rough from the presence of long slender spines on the scales. There is a large perforation in the septum between the gill cavities, but ...
— Hormones and Heredity • J. T. Cunningham

... conversation, in a train, of a wealthy, refined, and cultivated Churchwoman. "I said to my son when he set out," she observed, with a laugh, to her neighbour, "that it was far better for him to get shot than to die of diphtheria or something at home." If that sentiment, that obtuseness to the massive horrors of war even when a son was involved, is widespread, the outlook is dark. One fears that it is ...
— The War and the Churches • Joseph McCabe

... he excited little attention during his lifetime, except amongst the sharers of his own religious persuasions; and, when noticed after his death, the praise of his intellectual acuteness has generally been accompanied with an expression of abhorrence for his supposed moral obtuseness. Mr. Lecky, for example, whilst speaking of Edwards as 'probably the ablest defender of Calvinism,' mentions his treatise on Original Sin as 'one of the most revolting books that have ever proceeded from the ...
— Hours in a Library, Volume I. (of III.) • Leslie Stephen

... increase in favour with the Father of the Marshalsea in the ratio of his increasing visits. His obtuseness on the great Testimonial question was not calculated to awaken admiration in the paternal breast, but had rather a tendency to give offence in that sensitive quarter, and to be regarded as a positive shortcoming in point of ...
— Little Dorrit • Charles Dickens

... 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 such severe ...
— Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Vol. 3, July, 1851 • Various

... 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, ...
— The Greater Inclination • Edith Wharton

... said Miss Abbott, and closed her eyes wearily. Each moment her difficulties were increasing. She wished that she was not so tired, so open to contradictory impressions. She longed for Harriet's burly obtuseness or for the soulless diplomacy of ...
— Where Angels Fear to Tread • E. M. Forster

... running noose and satisfying himself that it could not possibly give way or anyhow fail. He was also slow in making a stop-knot at the part of the rope that he proposed to attach to the tree, and he felt an extraordinary obtuseness of intelligence while making the calculations that he had so many times thought out during the night. "Yes," he said to himself, "twice the length of my arms. That's quite right. Six feet is twice the length of my arms—but I'll try it again. Yes—quite ...
— The Devil's Garden • W. B. Maxwell

... 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

... 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 ...
— Ringan Gilhaize - or The Covenanters • John Galt

... in 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

... difficult to breathe when they are in the room, as if they had pumped all the air out of it. Wouldn't it be dreadful to produce that effect on people! But they never seem to be aware of it. I remember once meeting a famous Bore; I really must tell you about it, it shows the unbelievable obtuseness ...
— Trivia • Logan Pearsall Smith

... that moment, she loved Harry Lacy. For Harry Lacy was he about whom the difference began. Rhett Sempland, confident of his own affection and hopeful as to hers, had attempted, with masculine futility and obtuseness, to prohibit the further attentions ...
— A Little Traitor to the South - A War Time Comedy With a Tragic Interlude • Cyrus Townsend Brady

... 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 speech ...
— In The Fourth Year - Anticipations of a World Peace (1918) • H.G. Wells

... 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 ...
— Adventures in Criticism • Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

... politics tersely Death within which welcomed a death without Dignity of sulking so seductive to the wounded spirit of man Grief of an ill-fortuned passion of his youth He lost the art of observing himself Immense wealth and native obtuseness combine to disfigure us Infallibility of our august mother Inflicted no foretaste of her coming subjection to him Love's a selfish business one has work in hand No man has a firm foothold who pretends to it Silence and such signs are like revelations in black night The defensive ...
— Quotations from the Works of George Meredith • David Widger

... and the familiar places, Mrs. Golden went on hoping that she could persuade Una to go back to Panama. She never seemed to realize that their capital wasn't increasing as time passed. Sometimes impatient at her obtuseness, sometimes passionate with comprehending tenderness, Una devoted herself to her, and Mr. Schwirtz and Sanford Hunt and Sam Weintraub and Todd faded. She treasured her mother's happiness at their Christmas dinner with the Sessionses. She encouraged the Sessionses ...
— The Job - An American Novel • Sinclair Lewis

... Magna with his brilliant, enigmatic, and—to her—all too fugitive presence. Harriet had never 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 ...
— Deadham Hard • Lucas Malet

... its brisk, impersonal talk of socialism, and politics, and small home events, and music. As it happened, the quartet had the lack of intuition to play a great deal of Haydn that autumn, and to Sylvia the cheerful, obvious tap-tap-tap of the hearty old master seemed to typify the bald, unsubtle obtuseness of the home attitude towards life. She herself took to playing the less difficult of the Chopin nocturnes with a languorous over-accentuation of their softness which she was careful to keep from the ears of old Reinhardt. But one evening he came in, unheard, listened ...
— The Bent Twig • Dorothy Canfield

... and nervous under the Reverend's firing, like the good Samaritan, I tried to pour oil and wine on their wounded spirits, by exalting intuition, and with a pitiful and patronizing tone deploring the slowness, the obtuseness, the materialism of most of the sons of Adam. It had its effect. They soon dried their tears, and with returning self-respect, told me of all the wonderful things women were doing in that town. From the scintillations ...
— History of Woman Suffrage, Volume II • Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda Joslyn Gage

... 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

... herself as 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 ...
— Wild Wings - A Romance of Youth • Margaret Rebecca Piper

... It's his work, and he'll help me to teach them, and by winter there'll be something accomplished." And of his help he had great need, for patience and courage were often sorely tried in the days which followed, and it was not always his pupils' obtuseness which brought the greatest strain to bear upon them. One old fish-wife, the oldest woman in the village, had regarded the whole plan of teaching the children ...
— Culm Rock - The Story of a Year: What it Brought and What it Taught • Glance Gaylord

... unessential forms of Christian truth. Some of us of the 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 ...
— India, Its Life and Thought • John P. Jones



Words linked to "Obtuseness" :   bluntness, stupidity, oscitance



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