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Word of the Day : September 5, 2011

perspicacious

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adjective per-spuh-KAY-shus

Definition

: of acute mental vision or discernment : keen

Examples

The average time for solving the puzzle was seven minutes, but some of the more perspicacious subjects did it in under three minutes.

"There was always someone who had it worse, whose pain was more fresh. But there was also someone a few months or years further along, who was beginning to thrive. And far from being losers, these were accomplished and bright people, wise and perspicacious." -- From an article by Jane Eaton Hamilton on Salon.com, July 19, 2011



Did You Know?

"Perspicacious" is similar in meaning to "shrewd" and "astute," but a sharp mind will discern subtle differences among them. All three mean acute in perception and sound in judgment, but "shrewd" stresses practical, hardheaded cleverness, whereas "perspicacious" implies unusual power to see through and comprehend what is puzzling or hidden. (You can see this shade of meaning in the root of "perspicacious" -- the Latin word "perspicere," meaning "to look through" or "to see clearly.") "Astute" suggests both shrewdness and perspicacity, as well as diplomatic skill.

Test Your Memory

What word completes this sentence from a recent Word of the Day piece: "The futon mattress was heavy and _________, without any straps to hold onto, and the two roommates struggled to carry it up the stairs"? The answer is ...


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