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

What Jetflicks offered was a home base for all of that content, along with a website and apps to help less tech-savvy users reach it. Wired, "What the Takedown of Two Streaming Services Means for Piracy," 29 Aug. 2019 In a future conflict with a tech-savvy opponent, the U.S. military could discover even its most advanced, secure communications penetrated by the enemy. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "To Prevent Cyber Snooping, the U.S. Navy Is Relying on WWII-Era Communications," 16 Aug. 2019 Rozelle, who was politically savvy, then convinced Congress to pass, and President John F. Kennedy to sign, the Sports Broadcast Act of 1961. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "Why DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket Might Be Illegal Under Antitrust Law," 14 Aug. 2019 Image: Ice Universe Announcing face unlock for the Pixel 4 just a little over a week ahead of Samsung’s Note 10 announcement (on August 7th) is savvy, as the Note 10 is likely going to have an in-screen fingerprint sensor. Dieter Bohn, The Verge, "The Google Pixel 4 will unlock using a face scan," 29 July 2019 In fact the site crashed after the first collection dropped, serving up trend-savvy, statement-making pieces — crop tops, curve-hugging dresses, bold silhouettes. Shammara Lawrence, Teen Vogue, "4 People on the Importance of Premme for the Plus-Size Community," 24 July 2019 The only resilient defence is savvier, more sceptical users. The Economist, "How WhatsApp is used and misused in Africa," 18 July 2019 But after the learning curve, and some tech tools, businesses are more savvy of avoiding those kind of disasters. Luke Winkie, Vox, "Ad campaigns and new products like Charmin’s “Forever” roll and IHOb drum up internet outrage. That’s the point.," 27 June 2019 The Tab’s original model was savvy and cheap: create quick and dirty posts for students by students, largely without pay or direction (this is somewhat similar to the Bryan Goldberg playbook with Bleacher Report). Amelia Harnish, refinery29.com, "Frat Feminism: Inside The Rise And Fall Of Babe.Net," 25 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Roberts said the middle schoolers’ success in AP Calculus BC came despite their lacking the test-taking savvy and conscientiousness of 18-year-olds. Jay Mathews, Washington Post, "Why are so many 8th-graders taking AP Calculus at this school district?," 6 July 2019 But the brand’s marketing savvy extends beyond social media. Jacob Gallagher, WSJ, "This Company is Fast Becoming the Warby Parker of Scrubs," 15 Oct. 2018 Everyone involved is pretty moose savvy, so the adults watching from the houses knew staying quiet and calm was the best option. Anne Raup, Anchorage Daily News, "'I was afraid the kids might wake up and scream’: Curious moose takes a long look into tent of urban campers," 15 Aug. 2019 The calls are typically done by the computer-savvy, people like hackers and gamers. Cnn.com Wire Service, The Mercury News, "Fortnite ‘swatting’: Armed police enter champion gamer’s home during livestream," 13 Aug. 2019 For customer care jobs, the company is looking for people who are computer savvy, have at least a high school diploma, and at least six months of customer service experience. Kara Carlson, Dallas News, "A family-owned company breathed life into a dead Atlanta mall. Now, it wants to do the same in southern Dallas," 18 July 2019 In our hit podcast series, successful women from all walks of life share their financial and career tips to help empower women and improve their financial savvy. WSJ, "Lesley Jane Seymour on How Women Can Reinvent Their Careers," 12 July 2019 The Pelicans, out of some combination of spite and savvy, refused to grant his wish. Thomas Beller, The New Yorker, "Russell Westbrook, Kawhi Leonard, Anthony Davis, and the N.B.A. Free-Agent Kaleidoscope," 12 July 2019 The event is for those who are not tech-savvy but want to learn the best way to create a digital product. Max Reyes, BostonGlobe.com, "Business agenda," 17 June 2019

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

2 Sep 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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