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

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. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Kate Middleton Jokes About Prince William's Hair All the Time," 15 Mar. 2019 Yang appears to be hoping that his business-savvy approach can win over voters in the middle who hoped Trump’s policies would bolster the economy. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "Here's Every Democrat Officially Running in the 2020 Presidential Election So Far," 11 Mar. 2019 For the political suitors, there’s credibility to be gained from the younger, more diverse and social media-savvy members of the biggest new class since Watergate. Laurie Kellman, The Seattle Times, "Belles of the ball: Dem freshmen courted by 2020 hopefuls," 19 Feb. 2019 This isn’t the first time that drones have made an appearance in the fashion arena either; earlier this year, in February, Dolce & Gabbana sent drones down the runway as a tech-savvy way to show off their new line of handbags. Cady Lang, Time, "Fashion Show Replaced Models With Drones Because the Future Is Now," 7 June 2018 It was founded by a comedian and positioned itself as a tech-savvy vanguard for a new version of anti-elitist democracy. Chico Harlan, Washington Post, "A political deal in Italy could lead to Western Europe’s first fully populist government," 10 May 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. Megan Ditrolio, Marie Claire, "How Is a Caucus Different From a Primary? Your Definitive Guide," 28 Feb. 2019 Fisk is patient, smart, and savvy, with a keen insight into what makes people tick, and is completely ruthless about manipulating them to serve his ends. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Wilson Fisk is back and better than ever in season 3 of Daredevil," 12 Nov. 2018 Sully is also apparently social media savvy and has his own Instagram account. Natalie Dreier, ajc, "Presidential pup: Pres. George H.W. Bush gets service dog," 26 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 A few weeks later, the social-media savvy Books Are Magic began using a terrazzo pattern as the background for their events notices. Alex Ronan, Vogue, "How Terrazzo Moved Out From Under Our Feet to Absolutely Everywhere," 18 Jan. 2019 But overall, the tech giant’s fundamental business model forces it to try to make complex decisions about free speech and the spread of information that its leadership simply does not seem to have the expertise or political savvy to make. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "Facebook blocked the spread of a liberal article because a conservative told it to," 12 Sep. 2018 Keke Coutee is small but productive with a nice skill-set for the slot, while Duke Ejiofor’s size and football savvy gives him the look of an eventual contributor. Terez A. Paylor, kansascity, "Grading the 2018 NFL Draft: Chiefs fare well on Terez Paylor’s report card | The Kansas City Star," 28 Apr. 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

18 Mar 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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