astute

adjective
as·​tute | \ə-ˈstüt, 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

Their inaugural design is intentionally simple, with astute, modern details. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Roger Federer Opens Up About His New Uniqlo Partnership and Returning to the U.S. Open," 23 Aug. 2018 Even the most astute fashion insiders have struggled with the names of young design houses like Proenza Schouler, Eckhaus Latta, and Alyx. Amira Rasool, Teen Vogue, "We've All Been Pronouncing "Versace" Wrong," 17 July 2018 Ben Power has done the astute, hypnotically cadenced English adaptation, and it has been directed with luxuriant austerity by the celebrated stage and film director Sam Mendes. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Review: ‘The Lehman Trilogy’ Is a Transfixing Epic of Riches and Ruin," 13 July 2018 Daniel’s company, Studio Baer, has designed books for some of the most aesthetically astute publishers in the world, including Phaidon, Rizzoli and the Aperture Foundation. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A library and an unexpected journey toward household togetherness," 28 June 2018 With even the most astute insiders flummoxed and grasping at info, Kawhigate is prime territory for speculating and theorizing. Nathaniel Friedman, GQ, "The Silence Around Kawhi Leonard Used to Be Comforting," 18 Apr. 2018 And Lilly’s Wasp is a fairly captivating second banana: The script—credited to no fewer than five writers, one of them Rudd—is culturally astute enough to allow Wasp to save Ant-Man’s hapless ass more than once. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "Review: Ant-Man and the Wasp Has Stakes as Small as Its Superheroes But It’s Hard to Dislike," 3 July 2018 Enemy of the State Dramas were even more astute at picking up hints of dangerous social currents. Caryn James, The Hollywood Reporter, "Critic's Notebook: The Prescient Political Films of 1998," 27 June 2018 In sharp contrast to the slap-dash political image the country broadcasts to the globe, England’s performances in this year’s World Cup have been uncharacteristically composed, clinical and tactically astute. Sean Williams, The New Republic, "England’s World Cup Team: the Anti-Brexit," 10 July 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near astute

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Statistics for astute

Last Updated

15 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for astute

The first known use of astute was in 1565

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More Definitions for astute

astute

adjective
as·​tute | \ə-ˈstüt, -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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