savvy

adjective
sav·​vy | \ ˈsa-vē How to pronounce savvy (audio) \
savvier; savviest

Definition of savvy

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: having or showing perception, comprehension, or shrewdness especially in practical matters

savvy

noun

Definition of savvy (Entry 2 of 3)

: practical know-how political savvy

savvy

verb
savvied; savvying

Definition of savvy (Entry 3 of 3)

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Other Words from savvy

Adjective

savvily adverb
savviness noun

Did You Know?

Adjective

You may be familiar with the noun savvy, meaning "practical know-how" (as in "he has political savvy"), and the adjective use (as in "a savvy investor"). And if you've seen the blockbuster movie Pirates of the Caribbean, you also know that the verb is often used as an informal, one-word question meaning "Do you understand?" (as in "I'm Captain Jack Sparrow. Savvy?"). But Jack Sparrow (i.e., Johnny Depp) didn't invent the term. Both the noun and the verb came into use around 1785. "Savvy" is based on the Portuguese term sabe, meaning "he knows," which itself is from Latin sapere, meaning "to be wise." Creole speakers interpreted the Portuguese term as "sabi" and began using it as one would "know." Eventually, the Creole's "sabi" evolved into savvy.

Examples of savvy in a Sentence

Adjective She's a very savvy investor. He is savvy about computers. Noun she's an excellent scholar of political science, but lacks the kind of savvy needed to run for public office Verb the man growled, “Don't ever date my daughter again—you savvy?”
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Willie and Joe were savvy to the reality of military life. Editorial Board Dallas Morning News (tns), Star Tribune, "Stars and Stripes survived an attack," 11 Sep. 2020 That has something to do with Sherman’s supreme self-confidence and the fact that his success has been more about savvy than speed. Eric Branch, SFChronicle.com, "49ers’ Sherman brushes off concerns about his age, but wife has the final say," 10 Sep. 2020 Included in the ranks of the newly famous are tech-savvy 20-somethings, many of whom pick up editing tricks and make their own videos rather than relying on handlers to do it for them. Ellen Gamerman, WSJ, "Quarantine Famous: The New Stars of Fall," 8 Sep. 2020 Turner is also savvy against zone coverage and does a very good job of finding space in between zones to create favorable throwing windows. John Owning, Dallas News, "Film room: 3 interesting developments from Cowboys’ cutdown, including Brandon Carr and Malik Turner," 7 Sep. 2020 The resulting design took two years of innovative planning to craft and replaces eight traditional pieces of cookware with a strategic nesting design that is very small-space-storage-savvy but still acts as 1. Elizabeth Buxton, refinery29.com, "The Internet’s Favorite Pan Has A Gorgeous New Color (That’s About To Sell Out)," 1 Sep. 2020 Whitfield says police are becoming more savvy about the information in the smart speakers’ activity logs. Sidney Fussell, Wired, "Meet the Star Witness: Your Smart Speaker," 23 Aug. 2020 Even in cases of rape or murder, assailants have become savvy about leaving their biological evidence, and violent crimes, like shootings, don’t often involve close contact. Barbara Bradley Hagerty, Washington Post, "Taking on the hardest cases — without DNA — and setting the innocent free," 7 Aug. 2020 Seafood savvy sought - The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, the state’s lone marketing arm, is seeking committee members who advise on strategic operations and selling of nearly every fish in the sea. Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska fishing industry likely incurred tens of millions of dollars in coronavirus-related expenses," 1 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Indianapolis signed the veteran hoping his savvy will help get the team back to the playoffs a year after Andrew Luck's sudden retirement. Scott Horner, The Indianapolis Star, "NFL Week 1 picks: Colts beat the Jaguars, but not necessarily in a blowout," 11 Sep. 2020 Hence, outside of the official ruling circles, there is a distinct shortage of administrative expertise, managerial skill, and political savvy to draw upon. Fred Weir, The Christian Science Monitor, "With or without Lukashenko, ‘Belarus will never be the same again’," 11 Sep. 2020 Urbino punched above its cultural weight in part because of Federico’s discerning taste but also because of his political savvy. Brian T. Allen, National Review, "Random Thoughts on Raphael," 5 Sep. 2020 Making money in DeFi not only requires a familiarity with an exotic market, but a high degree of technical savvy. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "Crypto soars again as traders embrace ‘DeFi’ and ‘yield farming’—but some see echoes of the 2017 bubble," 25 Aug. 2020 In need of design savvy and a 3D printer, Githens incorporated the help of Webster, a principal designer at Oceaneering. Randy Mcroberts, baltimoresun.com, "Abingdon volunteer firefighter Ryan Githens helps design N95 mask adapter for use by first responders," 24 Aug. 2020 Wakely does not, however, contain even a single molecule of practical political savvy. Gilbert Garcia, ExpressNews.com, "Garcia: Green Party hopeful forced off the ballot in U.S. District 21," 21 Aug. 2020 And Fishback, so good at playing bruised, street-smart young women on HBO's The Deuce and in the lovely indie drama Night Comes On, mixes innocence, quick-thinking savvy and snark here to disarming effect. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Project Power': Film Review," 14 Aug. 2020 Ultimately, Kansas’ top 10 list represents the intellect, resiliency, political savvy, business acumen, adventurous nature and stellar talent of the women who have called the state home. USA Today, "Who is your Woman of the Century?," 13 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb These were part of huge global marketing pushes for creative projects being milked for every last ounce of intellectual property, but also savvy positioning by the restaurants. Jon Caramanica, New York Times, "Travis Scott Meets McDonald’s (It’s Lit!)," 11 Sep. 2020 Your attitude toward money can switch from careful economies and savvy budgeting strategies to extravagant spending sprees in the week ahead. oregonlive, "Horoscope for August 2, 2020: Cancer, hurt feelings show up; Pisces, business sense is on the mark," 2 Aug. 2020 Some of them would not be willing to wear masks; and most of my family would not be computer savvy enough to do a video-call-shower. Amy Dickinson, oregonlive, "Ask Amy: Expectant mother worries over baby shower during Covid-19," 20 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'savvy.' 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 savvy

Adjective

1826, in the meaning defined above

Noun

circa 1785, in the meaning defined above

Verb

1686, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for savvy

Verb

alteration of sabi know (in English-based creoles and pidgins), from Portuguese sabe he knows, from saber to know, from Latin sapere to be wise — more at sage

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Time Traveler for savvy

Time Traveler

The first known use of savvy was in 1686

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Statistics for savvy

Last Updated

17 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Savvy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/savvy. Accessed 25 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for savvy

savvy

adjective
How to pronounce savvy (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of savvy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

US : having practical understanding or knowledge of something

savvy

noun

English Language Learners Definition of savvy (Entry 2 of 2)

: practical understanding or knowledge of something

savvy

noun
sav·​vy | \ ˈsa-vē \

Kids Definition of savvy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: practical knowledge or understanding She's admired for her business savvy.

savvy

adjective

Kids Definition of savvy (Entry 2 of 2)

: having practical knowledge or understanding of something savvy investors

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Comments on savvy

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