as·​tute ə-ˈstüt How to pronounce astute (audio)
: 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
astutely adverb
astuteness noun

Did you know?

Astute comes from the Latin noun astus, meaning "craft." The word implies being keenly observant and forming sound judgments based on knowledge and experience.

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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Despite the current climate, astute observers think Endeavor has the fighters to pull it off. Jessica Reif Ehrlich, the influential BofA Securities media analyst, shares Swinburne’s enthusiasm for the creation of TKO. Cynthia Littleton, Variety, 20 Sep. 2023 An astute businessman, Mr. Faircloth bought farm and timber land and established a concrete business, automobile franchises and a construction company. Robert D. McFadden,, 16 Sep. 2023 Jack Osbourne got some astute advice before heading to participate in Special Forces: World's Toughest Test. Hannah Sacks, Peoplemag, 13 Sep. 2023 But the Goings On ethos remains the same: astute, snappy previews and critical reviews, offering an arts primer, a piquant snapshot of the day’s cultural scene, and, perhaps, ideas for your after-work or weekend plans. The New Yorker, 31 July 2023 The astute camerawork by Tudor Vladimir Panduru (My Happy Family) tracks Canan every hell-bent step of her frequently derailed day. Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter, 4 Sep. 2023 An astute move by the NBA was to separate the six groups by conference, meaning the championship will consist of a Western Conference team against an Eastern Conference team. Globe Staff,, 22 Aug. 2023 Wiegman, astute and pragmatic, has always managed to find solutions, but even her inventiveness would be tested should her resources thin any further. Rory Smith, New York Times, 4 Aug. 2023 Simply put, a private jet empowers astute businesspeople to more effectively grow their enterprises. Robb Report Studio, Robb Report, 1 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'astute.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin astutus, from astus craft

First Known Use

1565, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of astute was in 1565


Dictionary Entries Near astute

Cite this Entry

“Astute.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


as·​tute ə-ˈst(y)üt How to pronounce astute (audio)
: having or showing understanding and the skill to make good choices or decisions : wise, shrewd
an astute investor
astutely adverb
astuteness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on astute

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!