ˈshrüd How to pronounce shrewd (audio)
 especially Southern  ˈsrüd
: marked by clever discerning awareness and hardheaded acumen
shrewd common sense
: given to wily and artful ways or dealing
a shrewd operator
: severe, hard
a shrewd knock
: sharp, piercing
a shrewd wind
archaic : mischievous
obsolete : abusive, shrewish
obsolete : ominous, dangerous
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
Recent Examples on the Web Shelly’s become more shrewd about handling her husband’s infidelities, but her wealth and complacency can leave her blind to the gravity of some situations. J. Kim Murphy, Variety, 19 June 2024 Speaking volumes with her gaze, Vikander is a shrewd choice for that role, although for much of the movie her low-key demeanor can’t help but be overwhelmed a bit by Law’s lusty vulgarity and emotional outbursts. Brian Lowry, CNN, 14 June 2024 Even before Gold House, Chen has always been a savvy connector and shrewd operator. Jaimie Ding, Los Angeles Times, 9 June 2024 But behind his beauty is a shrewd and cunning mind. Angelica Jade Bastién, Vulture, 31 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for shrewd 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'shrewd.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English shrewed, from shrewe + -ed entry 1

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

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

Dictionary Entries Near shrewd

Cite this Entry

“Shrewd.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


: showing quick practical cleverness : astute
a shrewd observer
also : marked by clever dealing that takes advantage
a shrewd negotiator
shrewdly adverb
shrewdness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on shrewd

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