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

Example Sentences

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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web The Lakers made a shrewd move this past week, adding 24-year-old forward Rui Hachimura from the Wizards for guard Kendrick Nunn and three second-round picks. Gary Washburn,, 28 Jan. 2023 Instead, the shrewd move might be using that premium pick to bolster a pass rush that generated just 21 sacks. Michael Middlehurst-schwartz, USA TODAY, 11 Jan. 2023 Instead, the shrewd move might be using that premium pick to bolster a pass rush that generated just 21 sacks. Michael Middlehurst-schwartz, Detroit Free Press, 10 Jan. 2023 With applications for regular MBAs dwindling, offering this alternative to traditional programs could be a shrewd move for colleges and universities. Katharine Gammon, Time, 31 Dec. 2022 Matt Mackowiak, a Republican strategist and chairman of the Travis County Republican Party, said the campaign ad was a shrewd move. Dallas News, 7 Oct. 2022 To progressives, however, the Republicans’ support for infrastructure looked like a shrewd attempt to scuttle the larger spending bill. Robert P. Baird, The New Yorker, 8 Nov. 2021 What can be dismissed as remarkably shortsighted at first glance is actually shrewd. Dallas News, 30 Aug. 2022 Without an unlimited payroll — one that had three players each making more than $20 million per year, compared to 2022 when only two players are making more than $7.5 million — Avila would need to be shrewd. Tony Garcia, Detroit Free Press, 4 Aug. 2022 See More

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.

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 4 Feb. 2023.

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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