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

This space is Two Bit Circus' first attempt at launching a series of venues across the country that the founders hope will revive both the arcade and the carnival for digitally savvy audiences of adventurous 20-somethings and families. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "Inside Two Bit Circus, LA’s new VR and arcade amusement park," 22 Aug. 2018 But Griffin is too savvy a comedian to bore an audience with her troubles. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, "Critic's Notebook: Kathy Griffin Comes Back With a Vengeance in 'Laugh Your Head Off' Tour," 27 June 2018 Christiansen is known for being digitally savvy, which could be a key asset because kids are increasingly spending more time with tablets, smartphones and other digital technology either with, or in place of, conventional toys. James F. Peltz, latimes.com, "New Lego CEO takes on rebuilding the battered toy company, brick by brick," 13 June 2018 But an extremely savvy Redditor points out there might be more to it than that. Mehera Bonner, Harper's BAZAAR, "Westworld Season 2 Episode 5: [MAJOR SPOILER] Is Back!," 28 May 2018 Today, World Wrestling Entertainment is a technologically savvy company, with ambitions far greater than their biggest wrestlers. Bloomberg, "How the WWE Plans to Take Over the World," 4 Apr. 2018 But today’s media-savvy politicians often look ahead only to the evening newscasts or, lately, to the next tweet. Alan S. Blinder, The New Republic, "An economist’s view of the American political process," 22 Mar. 2018 The figure represents a 27 percent year-on-year rise over 2017’s total of $25.3 billion, and was helped in part by the e-commerce giant’s expansion into in-store retail, combined with China’s large and tech-savvy middle class. Jon Porter, The Verge, "Alibaba’s Singles Day sales dwarf Amazon’s biggest day," 12 Nov. 2018 Only the most navigation-savvy person gets to sit in the passenger seat. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, "Travelogue Podcast: Things You Should Never, Ever Do on a Road Trip," 3 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Chuck, who is more money-savvy and less highly strung, has a more practical outlook. Beth Decarbo, WSJ, "Our 15-Year Quest to Find the Perfect Place to Retire," 20 Nov. 2018 A month after The Wolf of Grape Street was released, Greedo was faced with another roadblock; one that even his street savvy couldn't evade. Carl Lamarre, Billboard, "03 Greedo on His 20-Year Prison Sentence & Why His Legacy Will Be 'Bigger Than Michael Jackson'," 22 May 2018 For all their financial savvy, back in 2006 the big private equity firms proved no better than the retailers themselves in anticipating major changes that would roil retail. Phil Wahba, Fortune, "Retail Reckoning: How Private Equity Is Boosting Some Brands and Crushing Others," 24 Apr. 2018 Additionally, the new invitation shows just how tech-savvy the Royal family is becoming, by requesting RSVPs via email. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Meghan Markle's Wedding Invites Are Different from Kate Middleton's in a Very Specific Way," 22 Mar. 2018 Democrats are often thought to be tech-savvy, because the Obama campaigns of 2008 and 2012 were celebrated for their online touch and because much of Silicon Valley backs the party’s candidates. New York Times, "4,500 Tech Workers, 1 Mission: Get Democrats Elected," 13 July 2018 Be app-savvy: Only download apps from trusted, reputable sources. Marc Saltzman, USA TODAY, "Your life is on your smartphone. These 8 steps can keep cyberthieves out," 5 July 2018 Become reasonably social media- and technology-savvy. Sharon Jayson, Washington Post, "Will We Still Be Relevant ‘When We’re 64’?," 15 May 2018 College graduates with business savvy, professional insight and job-ready skills are in high demand in Arizona and across the country. Tj Gibson, azcentral, "Business savvy graduates in high demand," 18 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

9 Dec 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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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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