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 Why then, an astute observer might ask, does Kahmora show up to set wearing full hip/ass pads and a breastplate with erect nipples? Paul Mccallion, Vulture, "RuPaul’s Drag Race Recap: Happy RuPaulidays!," 22 Jan. 2021 As the next week or two unfold, your astute observations can have a positive influence on your job and your financial decisions. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, "Horoscope for Nov. 23, 2020: Gemini, use expanded perceptions of empathy; Leo, avoid social media," 23 Nov. 2020 Nonetheless, Bushell volleyed back another astute and overjoyed performance in two days. Jeremy Gordon, New York Times, "Dave Grohl, 10-Year-Old Nandi Bushell and One Very Epic Drum Battle," 9 Nov. 2020 Lebowitz seamlessly shifts from making wisecracks about tourists to offering astute theories about the state of modern art, culture, and life in New York City. Sarah Adams, Town & Country, "Pretend it's a City: Fran Lebowitz and the Power of Uniform Dressing," 19 Jan. 2021 But Olsen also strikes out on her own as an astute songwriter. Natalie Maher, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Best Songs of 2020," 29 Dec. 2020 Such convictions made evangelicals astute students of world events. Matthew Avery Sutton, The New Republic, "The Capitol Riot Revealed the Darkest Nightmares of White Evangelical America," 14 Jan. 2021 With that in mind, Fortune‘s Jeff John Roberts has compiled the definitive list of Twitter’s most astute political junkies to keep you on top of all the twists and turns. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, "The dollar, Bitcoin soar as the markets contend with a dreaded, contested election," 4 Nov. 2020 Instead, Cohen overlays a personal account of grieving her father with the help of Austen’s fiction, emerging with one of the most emotionally astute understandings of the novelist’s work, period. Hillary Kelly, Los Angeles Times, "10 great books that got lost in the noise of 2020," 10 Dec. 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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Last Updated

24 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Astute.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/astute. Accessed 28 Feb. 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.

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Comments on astute

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