savvy

adjective
sav·vy | \ˈsa-vē \
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

The roster is almost completely full - and the playoff rotation, certainly is full - of savvy moves by Morey. Matt Young, Houston Chronicle, "How this Rockets team was built piece-by-piece," 24 May 2018 Schlapp said that moving Cuomo to primetime is a savvy strategic move for CNN, a network he's criticized in the past for being anti-Trump. Jeremy Barr, The Hollywood Reporter, "With New Primetime Show, CNN Bets On Chris Cuomo," 23 May 2018 So even though gamers might not need performance shoes the way athletes in other sports do, creating one is still a savvy marketing move by K-Swiss. Cam Wolf, GQ, "K-Swiss Wants to Sell You Shoes to Play Video Games In," 10 May 2018 Daily News Iditarod analyst and race veteran Jake Berkowitz said Petit's savvy moves, including taking his 24-hour rest early in the race at McGrath, appear to put the Girdwood musher in a strong position for the tough coastal trail ahead. Kyle Hopkins, Anchorage Daily News, "RACE UPDATES: Seavey leads; Eagle Island checkpoint no longer an option for 8-hour Yukon River rest," 9 Mar. 2018 Yet, new cannabis businesses pop up everyday as savvy entrepreneurs find ways to cash in. Maryann Reid /, NBC News, "Women create cannabis media company to cash in on green rush," 18 Feb. 2018 Legere quickly shored up the business with savvy moves. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "Inside T-Mobile's Big, Brash Comeback," 15 Feb. 2018 The European Union and state of California both recently passed stricter regulations around data collection, and consumers are becoming savvier about what companies know about them. Sharon Terlep, WSJ, "Amazon’s PillPack Deal Gives It Access to Sensitive Health Data," 1 July 2018 Despite their isolation and the image of North Korea as a backward state, North Korean negotiators are always well-briefed, and a new generation of younger diplomats is savvier about the outside world than their older counterparts. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "Trump's improvisation faces decades of North Korean preparation," 10 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Since then, his restaurant-business savvy expanded into concepts that emphasize local communities, foods and catering. Jessica Suriano, azcentral, "The Larry restaurant, catering business will bring eclectic menu to downtown Phoenix," 13 July 2018 Beutner is expected to confront not just the district's lagging test scores but to apply his business savvy to its precarious financial situation. Anna M. Phillips, latimes.com, "On his first day as L.A. schools chief, Beutner visits a bus depot and schools across the district," 16 May 2018 Also, freshman early enrollee Isaiah Smalls (pictured) has the athleticism and football savvy to one day grow into the starting role. Danny Moran, OregonLive.com, "Projecting the Oregon State Beavers football post-spring practice depth chart," 15 May 2018 Combining his business savvy with an ambitious nonprofit model, in 2007 he co-founded STREETS International, based in Hoi An. Allie Torgan, CNN, "From tourist to altruist, how a New Yorker embraced Vietnam," 10 May 2018 The savvy, semicamp nostalgist Lana Del Rey spun her personal melancholy into communal gloom on her No. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Can Protest Art Get Its Mojo Back?," 7 May 2018 Your savvy can still convert a far-off dream into staunch reality. Minerva, San Francisco Chronicle, "Minerva’s horoscope for week of May 6," 6 May 2018 Bowden is a 32-year-old bartender in Ohio, and at the time didn’t think of herself as especially internet savvy. Emma Grey Ellis, WIRED, "Meet Badass, the Grassroots Activists Hitting Revenge Porn Where It Lives," 26 Apr. 2018 But the marketing savvy had a shameful and horrifying result: contributing to the scourge of opioids that is only worsening today. Sarah Mupo, STAT, "The 39 best health and science books to read this summer," 25 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

14 Oct 2018

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

noun

English Language Learners Definition of savvy

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: practical understanding or knowledge of something

savvy

adjective

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

: having 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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