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 Kyle Bass’s market bet against a Texas real-estate lender seemed like an astute move. Dave Michaels And Aruna Viswanatha, WSJ, "Investor’s Attack on Texas Real-Estate Lender Boomerangs," 14 June 2020 That prediction, made by the World Bank in 2017, and based on decades of Nigeria’s dependence on oil, has proven astute. Quartz Africa, "Nigeria’s immediate future looks bleak without oil revenue—it doesn’t have to be that way," 18 May 2020 The show is like hanging out with your politically astute and argumentative friends. oregonlive, "45 podcasts to pass the time and (maybe) make you smarter during isolation," 29 Apr. 2020 The most astute and lucky Western investors might make hay in a growing NPL market. Mike Bird, WSJ, "Western Investors Are Shark Bait in China’s $1.4 Trillion Bad-Debt Ocean," 17 Jan. 2020 Instead of being able to browse and scroll at liberty, users must answer a lengthy questionnaire that eHarmony’s psychologically astute algorithm interprets, thus producing suitable matches. 1843, "Before Tinder, there was Dateline," 16 Apr. 2020 When Freeman Dyson passed away in February at the age of 96, the world lost one of its most versatile scientists and astute humanists. Quanta Magazine, "Remembering the Unstoppable Freeman Dyson," 13 Apr. 2020 Arian offers straightforward and astute observations about Iran’s attitude toward Western powers and about the social history of modern Tehran. Dina Nayeri, New York Times, "Set in a Notorious Prison, a Novel Probes Iran’s Torturers and Their Victims," 24 Mar. 2020 There is no one who wants to see the cancellation of football, especially Herbstreit, which makes his opinion on the topic that much more significant and astute. Mark Heim |, al, "Paul Finebaum defends Kirk Herbstreit as Eliah Drinkwitz apologizes: ‘Coaches taking cheap shots’," 2 Apr. 2020

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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Time Traveler for astute

Time Traveler

The first known use of astute was in 1565

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Last Updated

23 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Astute.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for astute


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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on astute

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for astute

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with astute

Spanish Central: Translation of astute

Nglish: Translation of astute for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of astute for Arabic Speakers

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