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acumen

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noun acu·men \ə-ˈkyü-mən, ˈa-kyə-mən\

Simple Definition of acumen

  • : the ability to think clearly and make good decisions

Full Definition of acumen

  1. :  keenness and depth of perception, discernment, or discrimination especially in practical matters

Examples of acumen

  1. And perhaps this is just part of Washington's transition into the new economy: the triumph of national brands over local loyalty, of business acumen over upper Northwest idealism. —Franklin Foer, New Republic, 7 Feb. 2000

  2. … the historical acumen, the steady shrewdness, and the uncommon common sense with which the old maestro watches the American procession of similar problems faced by dissimilar egos. —Alistair Cooke, New Yorker, 9 Feb. 1987

  3. Here was a man of extraordinary sensitivity, political acumen, spiritual power, and sexual wildness; a free spirit if ever there was one. —Alice Walker, Living by the Word, 1986

  4. Her political acumen won her the election.

  5. a lack of business acumen



Origin of acumen

Latin acumin-, acumen, literally, point, from acuere


First Known Use: circa 1579

Synonym Discussion of acumen

discernment, discrimination, perception, penetration, insight, acumen mean a power to see what is not evident to the average mind. discernment stresses accuracy (as in reading character or motives or appreciating art) <the discernment to know true friends>. discrimination stresses the power to distinguish and select what is true or appropriate or excellent <the discrimination that develops through listening to a lot of great music>. perception implies quick and often sympathetic discernment (as of shades of feeling) <a novelist of keen perception into human motives>. penetration implies a searching mind that goes beyond what is obvious or superficial <lacks the penetration to see the scorn beneath their friendly smiles>. insight suggests depth of discernment coupled with understanding sympathy <a documentary providing insight into the plight of the homeless>. acumen implies characteristic penetration combined with keen practical judgment <a director of reliable box-office acumen>.


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