\ˈshrüd, especially Southern ˈsrüd\

Definition of shrewd 

1 archaic : mischievous

2 obsolete : abusive, shrewish

3 obsolete : ominous, dangerous

4a : severe, hard a shrewd knock

b : sharp, piercing a shrewd wind

5a : marked by clever discerning awareness and hardheaded acumen shrewd common sense

b : given to wily and artful ways or dealing a shrewd operator

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Other Words from shrewd

shrewdly adverb
shrewdness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for shrewd

shrewd, sagacious, perspicacious, astute mean acute in perception and sound in judgment. shrewd stresses practical, hardheaded cleverness and judgment. a shrewd judge of character sagacious suggests wisdom, penetration, and farsightedness. sagacious investors got in on the ground floor perspicacious implies unusual power to see through and understand what is puzzling or hidden. a perspicacious counselor saw through the child's facade astute suggests shrewdness, perspicacity, and diplomatic skill. an astute player of party politics

Examples of shrewd in a Sentence

According to Frank Luntz, Republican pollster and spinmeister, these younger working women with small children are critical swing voters. By dint of focus groups and shrewd professional questioning, Luntz has determined what these women need most—more time in their lives. He seemed to regard this finding as a considerable coup. — Molly Ivins, Mother Jones, September/October 2004 When Ann Richards fractured her hand in a fall nine years ago, she went to the doctor for a bone density test only to learn that she had … an early form of osteoporosis. The diagnosis spurred the former Texas governor, whose mother and grandmother also suffered from the disease, to write I'm Not Slowing Down: Winning My Battle with Osteoporosis … an inspiring little volume filled with the author's shrewd insights into healthcare, gender and, yes, politics. — Julie Hale, Book Page, August 2003 One shrewd political tactician who knew what it was like to lose a close election watched Goldwater closely. Nixon had an eye on a comeback in 1968 and knew he needed the South—all of it this time. — Jon Meacham, Newsweek, 23 Dec. 2002 But a growing empire produces tough challenges. Winfrey is used to ironclad control. A shrewd businesswoman, she still signs all the checks of more than $1,000 for her Harpo Entertainment Group, and she meticulously scrutinizes the smaller ones that others sign for her. — Lynette Clemetson, Newsweek, 8 Jan. 2001 She's shrewd about her investments. a shrewd used car dealer who knew how to make the best possible deal
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Recent Examples on the Web

Yet, as O’Toole herself describes him, Wilson was also a shrewd politician, deft at shifting his views and reshaping his policies in order to gain power and be able to do important things with it. Michael Kazin, New York Times, "Woodrow Wilson Achieved a Lot. So Why Is He So Scorned?," 22 June 2018 Benatia could be prove to be a shrewd addition for the Gunners, having played a crucial role in Juventus' recent domination in Italy, whilst also having previous experience playing for German powerhouses Bayern Munich., "Arsenal Considering Swoop for Juventus Defender as Part of Defensive Overhaul This Summer," 29 May 2018 Zardari, though aloof in public, is known as a shrewd politician. Washington Post, "Skulduggery in Pakistan’s Senate races sets stage for chaotic general election," 22 Mar. 2018 Still, the White House must be shrewd if Republicans are to expand their Senate edge and keep the House majority or at least minimize losses. Karl Rove, WSJ, "America’s Midterm Referendum," 24 Oct. 2018 In Bergmann's comically shrewd staging, never let it be said that any of these actors is guilty of a subtle gesture. F. Kathleen Foley,, "Lust, secrets, murder: Dive into the drag-rific world of 'Die, Mommy, Die!'," 17 May 2018 This wasn’t the occasion to listen for its full capabilities, but rather for shrewd coloristic choices. Peter Dobrin,, "Wanamaker organist Conte brings thrilling color to mostly drab Philadelphia Orchestra program," 6 May 2018 As a burgeoning politician, indulging in writing is not as not as shrewd as say, taking up golf as a hobby in order to better network with the higher-ups. Nicola Pardy,, "Stacey Abrams’ Alter Ego Might Be The Key To Winning Georgia’s Election," 25 May 2018 But Read’s pricing game plan didn’t seem so shrewd when President Trump entered the picture last week. Kate Sheridan, STAT, "How Pfizer’s CEO flew under the political radar with price hikes — until he tangled with Trump," 13 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shrewd.' 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 shrewd

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for shrewd

Middle English shrewed, from shrewe + -ed entry 1

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Statistics for shrewd

Last Updated

5 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for shrewd

The first known use of shrewd was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for shrewd



English Language Learners Definition of shrewd

: having or showing an ability to understand things and to make good judgments : mentally sharp or clever


\ˈshrüd \
shrewder; shrewdest

Kids Definition of shrewd

: showing quick practical cleverness a shrewd businessman

Other Words from shrewd

shrewdly adverb
shrewdness noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on shrewd

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with shrewd

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for shrewd

Spanish Central: Translation of shrewd

Nglish: Translation of shrewd for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of shrewd for Arabic Speakers

Comments on shrewd

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living or existing for a long time

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