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

These programs make viewers more savvy about criminal-justice procedures but enforce the notion that all answers in a case can fall into place like puzzle pieces and within days of when a crime occurs. Maude Campbell, Popular Mechanics, "The Time of True Crime," 26 Apr. 2019 Every critic in the land played along, spoiling nothing, letting the film’s savvy marketing campaign keep its big secret a big secret, for weeks. Michael Phillips, chicagotribune.com, "The 'Infinity War' question: Is alluding to a new movie's controversial end over the spoiler line?," 25 Apr. 2018 Liberal activists were intrigued by O'Rourke's savvy social media campaign. Amber Phillips, Washington Post, "Hang on: Can a Democrat actually win a U.S. Senate race in Texas?," 19 Apr. 2018 But people are savvier to these tricks now, especially after UnREAL opened the curtain to what goes on behind-the-scenes on The Bachelor. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Is Anyone Else Buying Kim, Khloé, and Kourtney's Fights This Season on KUWTK?," 28 Aug. 2018 Pindell is also savvy enough to drive web traffic by tying content with current events. Shandel Richardson, Sun-Sentinel.com, "With his playing days over, former FAU safety Troy Pindell finds success via YouTube channel," 9 July 2018 For more stories like this, including celebrity news, beauty and fashion advice, savvy political commentary, and fascinating features, sign up for the Marie Claire newsletter. Marie Claire, "Hilary Duff Just Shared an Intimate Video of Her Daughter's Home Water Birth," 25 Mar. 2019 Even Spotify is savvy to the great horoscope takeover. Cazzie David, Vogue, "2018’s Most Ridiculous Moments in Beauty—And Beyond!—According to Cazzie David," 22 Dec. 2018 Today's new-fangled dishwashers are more savvy than what grandma might have owned. Lauren Piro, Good Housekeeping, "Every Reason to Stop Pre-Rinsing Dishes Before They Go in the Dishwasher," 13 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Gucci’s Paris show demonstrated its conversation-starting savvy: A model... Matthew Dalton, WSJ, "At Fashion Week, Gucci is King of Social-Media Buzz," 26 Sep. 2018 Unlike other phishing scams, which target the elderly and non-tech savvy, the EOS attacks are cunningly designed to make victims let their guard down. Jen Wieczner, Fortune, "Cryptocurrency Hackers Are Stealing from EOS's $4 Billion ICO Using This Sneaky Scam," 31 May 2018 For the most part, their memberships are young, tech-savvy and multiracial, a mix of starter families and singles, college students and a smattering of older congregants. Kristin E. Holmes, Philly.com, "As Philly neighborhoods gentrify, black churches lose their base and leave," 6 July 2018 Virgin Galactic’s milestone also amounts to vindication for the billionaire entrepreneur known for his marketing savvy and personal commitment to space exploration. Andy Pasztor, WSJ, "Richard Branson’s Space-Tourism Company Rockets Out of Atmosphere for First Time," 13 Dec. 2018 And yet through three seasons, Better Call Saul has surprised viewers from every angle—its subtle tech-savvy included. Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "No lasers or Linux hacks, but Better Call Saul remains one of TV’s techiest shows," 27 Aug. 2018 Returning a third time as director, Genndy Tartakovsky lends his usual graphic savvy, providing a not-quite-saving grace. Michael Mccullers, New York Times, "Review: Raising the Stakes With ‘Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation’," 12 July 2018 These are, for the most part, highly intelligent people who, to some degree, thought that their savvy would set themselves apart from their neighbors. John Timpane, Philly.com, "Eliza Griswold's 'Amity and Prosperity': Fracking, profit, and human costs in western Pa.," 28 June 2018 Ferdinand was an ineffectual monarch, ill-informed and idle, better known for his singing than his savvy. Matthew Guerrieri, BostonGlobe.com, "Mozart for an era of political machinations," 28 June 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near savvy

savoyed

savoying

savs

savvy

saw

sawah

Sawākin

Statistics for savvy

Last Updated

13 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for savvy

The first known use of savvy was in 1686

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More Definitions for savvy

savvy

adjective

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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More from Merriam-Webster on savvy

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with savvy

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for savvy

Nglish: Translation of savvy for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of savvy for Arabic Speakers

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