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I was searching for an antonym to 'astute' and an antonym derived from the word itself seemed perfect in the context. Does such a word exist?

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  • No, it appears it is not used. You might take a poetic licence and use it, un-astute.
    – user66974
    Commented Jan 20, 2016 at 13:18
  • @Josh61 -- Not used? Do you have evidence to that effect?
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Jan 20, 2016 at 13:33
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    I would have expected the negated form to be inastute - but that gets only 150 hits in Google Books, compared to 281 for unastute (neither word appears in the full OED, or any free online dictionaries, so far as I can see). Commented Jan 20, 2016 at 13:34
  • @FumbleFingers - Yeah, I expected inastute to be more popular. There are places where one or the other "sounds better".
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Jan 20, 2016 at 14:00
  • Inastute is a term I remember from childhood, and my mother, the English teacher. I can only reference her, as an authority, since the word seems to be less common than most. It means "not astute" or unable to use advanced concepts through a lack of education, or intelligence. It's kind of a substitute for stupid, with a lesser amount of vilification.
    – Victor
    Commented Nov 6, 2017 at 2:56

5 Answers 5

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"Un-" is a perfectly legitimate prefix, and there's nothing to stop you from prepending it to "astute". Though not frequently, it is used, and mostly, it appears, in fairly literate works, vs magazines and popular fiction. "Inastute" is also used, though less so.

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  • @Charon - I said it was not frequently used. Habilatory is even less frequently used, but is still a legitimate word.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Jan 20, 2016 at 13:57
  • Yes, fair enough, I take your point.
    – Charon
    Commented Jan 20, 2016 at 14:01
  • Isn't unastute sort of unsmart?
    – TimR
    Commented Jan 20, 2016 at 14:01
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Perhaps we dumb down the antonym in this case so that the subject understands what we mean about them? (kidding)

Frankly, I think "OBTUSE" is the antonym I prefer.

OBTUSE
adjective
1. not quick or alert in perception, feeling, or intellect; not sensitive or observant; dull.
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  • Find this the best alternative. Thanks for this word (reminding of it, as I am a non-native English speaker)
    – a_hanif
    Commented Jan 22, 2016 at 16:47
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I've never heard or read unastute, or inastute.

But how about myopic?

lacking foresight or intellectual insight.

OED

The phrase astute observation conveys a meaning of keen insight, for which myopic would serve as a good antonym.

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  • Myopic is not an antonym of astute.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Jan 20, 2016 at 13:58
  • @HotLicks - But astute is synonymous with perspicacious, and that particular definition could be considered to be an antonym of myopic, no?
    – Charon
    Commented Jan 20, 2016 at 14:04
  • to our antonym is imperspicacious...
    – GEdgar
    Commented Jan 20, 2016 at 14:30
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If astute is 'of keen penetration or discernment, esp. in regard to one's own interests; shrewd, subtle, sagacious; wily, cunning, crafty' (OED), then perhaps dull-witted is a better antonym ('having a dull wit; stupid' (OED).

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Consider, dense and thickheaded

dense: slow to understand : stupid, thickheaded was too dense to get the joke

thickheaded: sluggish and obtuse of mind

M-W

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