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

The Katy area is now home to a new era of food-savvy entrepreneurs turning the once-small suburb into one of Houston's most exciting and culturally diverse dining communities, according to the Chronicle's Food Editor, Greg Morago. Rebecca Hennes, Houston Chronicle, "Where to eat: Katy's blazing restaurant scene challenges cookie-cutter chains," 5 July 2019 The juniors and seniors — all from Arizona — spent two weeks living in ASU dorms in downtown Phoenix and learning about existing and emerging ways to deliver news content to tech-savvy consumers. Elizabeth Montgomery, azcentral, "High school graduates of azcentral's media innovation camp explore gentrification in Garfield district," 4 July 2019 Experts have speculated that today’s discerning shoppers, particularly the internet-savvy millennial and Gen-Z variety, are interested in premium goods. Sangeeta Singh-kurtz, Quartzy, "People don’t care if their clothes are new anymore," 28 June 2019 The site is composed of a group of tech-savvy volunteers seeking to expose lies and targeting the extremist community of people who purvey the idea that Sandy Hook was a hoax . Rubén Rosario, Twin Cities, "Rosario: The recent court victory against the Sandy Hook deniers has a Saintly City connection," 28 June 2019 Island H20 Live, about half the size of typical Orlando water parks, is designed to appeal to a young, digital-savvy customer. Dewayne Bevil, orlandosentinel.com, "Margaritaville’s new water park makes a splash with high-tech innovations," 27 June 2019 Internet-savvy millennial and Gen Z consumers recognize the connection between social issues and shopping, Standish said. Kate Dwyer, Fortune, "Old Navy Launches Purple 4th Inclusion-and-Unity Campaign," 25 June 2019 Some might say these tactics are too simplistic to pose a threat to tech-savvy consumers. David Lazarus, latimes.com, "‘Dark patterns’ are steering many internet users into making bad decisions," 25 June 2019 Like Fiesinger, most of the app’s users are university students and young, tech-savvy professionals. Kirsten Grieshaber, The Denver Post, "Tasty deals: Apps help find unsold food and reduce waste," 23 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The people that shared it in my feed were young, and seemingly internet-savvy. Hanna Kozlowska, Quartz, "The viral spread of a bogus video shows the insidiousness of misinformation," 6 June 2019 And much of the press went along, treating recklessness as a form of political savvy. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "The lesson of the midterms: resistance works," 7 Nov. 2018 Groups that gather for social activities like a luncheon might give you a chance to show off your business savvy or network profitably. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive.com, "Horoscope for June 18, 2019: Happy birthday to actress Kim Dickens; Libra, help others by staying calm," 18 June 2019 Let’s help the next generation become more consumer-savvy. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Your Say: How can we improve public education?," 14 June 2019 Robinson had an interception on each of the final two days and plays with a veteran’s savvy, especially in zone coverage. Jeff Duncan, nola.com, "Jared Cook, Carl Granderson make positive impressions and other observations from Saints minicamp," 14 June 2019 Quanta Magazine spoke with Goldin about finding beauty in abstract thought, how STATS is arming journalists with statistical savvy, and why mathematical literacy is empowering. Quanta Magazine, "Why Math Is the Best Way to Make Sense of the World," 11 Sep. 2017 And among the more tech savvy, intentionally buying the Qualcomm variant of the iPhone over the Intel modem version (back in earlier hardware generations when the choice was still there) was seen as the way to go. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "New job posts hint Apple is making its own modem to compete with Qualcomm," 12 Dec. 2018 What unites them is sophistication, a broad knowledge of design history, technological savvy, and a quest for quality. Michael Boodro, ELLE Decor, "ELLE DECOR's Editor's Page: March 2012," 5 Mar. 2012

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

8 Jul 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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