acute or loud sound


Senior Member
I've just puzzled a little. We were talking about some things that you can be startled by, and I said that I was usually startled by some popping or loud sound the most. But after that I looked through the dictionary and looked up another meaning of "loud sound" - "acute sound". Can I use "acute" to describe the sound which is very unpleasant to my hearing?
  • PaulQ

    English - England
    An acute sound doesn't sound right in that context. The OED informs me: "Acute: Of a sound: sharp or shrill in tone; high. Opposed to grave or low. Now historical.

    1656 T. Hobbes Elements Philos. v. xxix. 363 Bodies when they are stricken do yeild some a more Grave, others a more Acute Sound."


    Senior Member
    I've never heard acute in relation to sound. If sheer volume is the problem, "deafening" or "ear-splitting" would work. If the problem is that it is a high-pitched noise, such as a siren, you could use "piercing" or "sharp". If the actual sound (such as a particular genre of music or a person's grating voice) annoys you, you could use "strident" ,"cacaphonous" or even "ugly".
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