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How does the adjective astute differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of astute are perspicacious, sagacious, and shrewd. While all these words mean "acute in perception and sound in judgment," astute suggests shrewdness, perspicacity, and diplomatic skill.

an astute player of party politics

When could perspicacious be used to replace astute?

While in some cases nearly identical to astute, perspicacious implies unusual power to see through and understand what is puzzling or hidden.

a perspicacious counselor saw through the child's facade

When might sagacious be a better fit than astute?

In some situations, the words sagacious and astute are roughly equivalent. However, sagacious suggests wisdom, penetration, and farsightedness.

sagacious investors got in on the ground floor

When would shrewd be a good substitute for astute?

Although the words shrewd and astute have much in common, shrewd stresses practical, hardheaded cleverness and judgment.

a shrewd judge of character

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Cite this Entry

“Astute.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/astute. Accessed 20 Jul. 2024.

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