shrewd

shrewd, sagacious, perspicacious, astute can all mean acute in perception and sound in judgment, especially in reference to practical affairs.
Shrewd implies native cleverness, acumen, and an exceptional ability to see below the surface; it often also connotes hardheadedness
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a shrewd bargain

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a shrewd observer

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a shrewd remark

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the shrewd wisdom of an unlettered old woman— Pater

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the hard mind of a shrewd small-town boy, the kind of boy who knows you have a real cigar only when you are the biggest man in town— Mailer

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she had had a mania for buying and selling land, and was a shrewd judge of values— Wolfe

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Sagacious is usually applied to persons or their decisions, their judgments, and their methods of pursuing their ends; it stresses penetration, discernment, judiciousness, and often, farsightedness
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the auctioneer, a small sagacious individual . . . , was directing his two blue-jowled assistants in the business of displaying to their best advantage the remaining pieces— Wylie

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he left an estate of approximately $172,000, accumulated through sagacious investments— Dilliard

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Perspicacious is applied chiefly to mental sight or insight and suggests unusual power to see through and to understand what is dark, hidden, mysterious, or puzzling
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a perspicacious reader of character

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a perspicacious critic

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we must make allowance also for those blind spots which are found in the most perspicacious mortals— L. P. Smith

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some perspicacious manufacturer of another product . . . beat the rap the same way— Ace

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it occurred to the perspicacious reddleman that he would have acted more wisely by appearing less unimpressionable— Hardy

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Astute implies a combination of shrewdness and perspicacity and often, in addition, connotes an ability to keep one's counsel or an incapacity for being fooled, especially where one's own interests are concerned
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savages . . . are often as . . . astute socially as trained diplomatists— James

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the man who can make millions by an astute business deal— Hobson

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Astute, opprobriously used, heightens the suggestion, sometimes present in perspicacious, of artfulness, diplomacy, or craft. It may connote merely shrewd discernment and sagacity
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I have described above our low-caliber presidents—they, too, are more or less astute party hacks— Edmund Wilson

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Analogous words: knowing, *intelligent, smart, clever, quick-witted: politic, diplomatic, smooth (see SUAVE): *wise, prudent, sensible, judicious: penetrating, piercing, probing (see ENTER): *sharp, keen, acute

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Shrewd — Shrewd, a. [Compar. {Shrewder}; superl. {Shrewdest}.] [Originally the p. p. of shrew, v.t.] 1. Inclining to shrew; disposing to curse or scold; hence, vicious; malicious; evil; wicked; mischievous; vexatious; rough; unfair; shrewish. [Obs.]… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • shrewd´ly — shrewd «shrood», adjective. 1. having a sharp mind; showing a keen wit; clever: »a shrewd argument. »He is a shrewd businessman. He was too shrewd to go along with them upon a road which could lead only to their overthrow (James Froude). 2. a)… …   Useful english dictionary

  • shrewd — UK US /ʃruːd/ adjective ► able to judge people and situations well and make good decisions: »My one big regret is about money I wish I d been more shrewd. »Simon is an extremely shrewd businessman. »The time is ripe for shrewd investors to make a …   Financial and business terms

  • shrewd — [ʃru:d] adj [Date: 1200 1300; Origin: shrew in the old meaning very bad man ] 1.) good at judging what people or situations are really like ▪ Malcolm is a shrewd and realistic businessman. ▪ She was shrewd enough to guess who was responsible. ▪… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • shrewd — [ ʃrud ] adjective * 1. ) able to judge people and situations very well and make good decisions: a shrewd politician a ) used about decisions and judgments: a shrewd marketing strategy 2. ) good at tricking people to get something you want: a… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • shrewd — shrewd; shrewd·ly; shrewd·ness; …   English syllables

  • shrewd — [shro͞od] adj. [ME schrewed, pp. of schrewen, to curse < schrewe: see SHREW] 1. Obs. a) evil, bad, wicked, mischievous, shrewish, etc. b) artful, cunning, wily, etc. in one s dealings with others 2. keen witted, clever, or sharp in practical… …   English World dictionary

  • shrewd|ie — «SHROO dee», noun. Informal. a shrewd person …   Useful english dictionary

  • shrewd — index artful, judicious, machiavellian, perceptive, perspicacious, politic, practiced, prudent, resourceful …   Law dictionary

  • shrewd — c.1300, wicked, evil, from shrewe wicked man (see SHREW (Cf. shrew)). Cf. crabbed from CRAB (Cf. crab), dogged from DOG (Cf. dog), wicked from WITCH (Cf. witch). The sense …   Etymology dictionary

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