astute

adjective
as·​tute | \ ə-ˈstüt How to pronounce astute (audio) , a-, -ˈstyüt \

Definition of astute

: having or showing shrewdness and an ability to notice and understand things clearly : mentally sharp or clever an astute observer astute remarks also : crafty, wily

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Other Words from astute

astutely adverb
astuteness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for astute

shrewd, sagacious, perspicacious, astute mean acute in perception and sound in judgment. shrewd stresses practical, hardheaded cleverness and judgment. a shrewd judge of character sagacious suggests wisdom, penetration, and farsightedness. sagacious investors got in on the ground floor perspicacious implies unusual power to see through and understand what is puzzling or hidden. a perspicacious counselor saw through the child's facade astute suggests shrewdness, perspicacity, and diplomatic skill. an astute player of party politics

The Difference Between Astute, Shrewd, and Sagacious

Astute is similar in meaning to shrewd and sagacious, but there are subtle differences in connotation among them. All three suggest sharp thinking and sound judgment, but shrewd stresses practical, hardheaded cleverness and judgment ("a shrewd judge of character"), whereas sagacious implies wisdom and foresight combined with good judgment ("sagacious investors"). Astute, which derives from the Latin noun astus, meaning "craft," suggests cleverness, mental sharpness, and diplomatic skill ("an astute player of party politics").

Examples of astute in a Sentence

We thought they were not very intellectually astute, but we didn't really understand how political a lot of what they were doing was. — Ben Wallace-Wells, Rolling Stone, 15 Nov. 2007 He asked astute diagnosticians around the country how they approached and cracked difficult diagnoses and what happened when they failed. Misdiagnosis is not an insignificant problem: Groopman cites a finding that between one in six and one in seven patients is incorrectly assessed. — Ruth Levy Guyer, Wilson Quarterly, Summer 2007 And finally, even if she had never actually uttered the bon mot that would be famously attributed to her, that if she had two heads, she would risk one in the king's service, could the astute young duchess actually have had input into the implausible negotiations? — Harvey Rachlin, Scandals, Vandals, and Da Vincis, 2007 Focusing largely upon Western alchemy during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, she has a sharp eye for how alchemical images surface in literature of that period. Readers of Ben Jonson, Christopher Marlowe, and William Shakespeare will find illuminating insights. Abraham reveals the far reaches of her astute literary intelligence by analyzing alchemical imagery encoded in a broad range of works, from Chaucer and Milton to Vladimir Nabokov and P. G. Wodehouse. — Norman Weinstein, Parabola, November 1999 He is an astute observer of the current political scene. Astute readers will notice the error. His analysis of the battle was very astute.
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Recent Examples on the Web Keim has proven to be astute at trading for veterans. Kent Somers, The Arizona Republic, "Steve Keim's NFL draft record veered the Arizona Cardinals off the path to success," 29 Apr. 2021 But fashion, as any astute observer will attest, is one big retro cycle. Horacio Silva, Robb Report, "How the NBA Tunnel Walk Became One of the Menswear World’s Most Influential Runways," 24 Apr. 2021 Look for support from friends and colleagues who admire your astute observations. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, "Horoscope for March 25, 2021: Happy birthday Sarah Jessica Parker; Virgo, attend to priorities," 25 Mar. 2021 Zimmer is an astute, engaging writer — inserting the atmospheric anecdote where applicable, drawing out a scientific story and bringing laboratory experiments to life. New York Times, "What Does It Mean to Be a Living Thing?," 24 Mar. 2021 Thanks to the astute commenters who’ve pointed out this friend-turned-enemy is rumored to be Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Baron Mordo. Brian Tallerico, Vulture, "9 Big Questions About What the WandaVision Finale Means for the MCU," 5 Mar. 2021 In the story about a duo that scams the elderly, González plays Fran, the astute partner in life and crime to Pike’s unscrupulous Marla. Carlos Aguilar, Los Angeles Times, "‘Godzilla vs. Kong’s’ Eiza González is a star in Mexico. Why do so few know her in the U.S.?," 2 Apr. 2021 As an astute detective once said, the game is afoot. Washington Post, "Pick the best fictional detective," 25 Mar. 2021 An astute political reporter and guardian of the highest standards. Dave Bryan, Star Tribune, "Roger Mudd, longtime network TV newsman, dies at 93," 9 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'astute.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of astute

1565, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for astute

Latin astutus, from astus craft

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Last Updated

7 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Astute.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/astute. Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for astute

astute

adjective
as·​tute | \ ə-ˈstüt How to pronounce astute (audio) , -ˈstyüt \

Kids Definition of astute

: very alert and aware : clever an astute observer

Other Words from astute

astutely adverb He astutely pointed out the fake jewels.

Comments on astute

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