astute

adjective
as·​tute | \ ə-ˈstüt How to pronounce astute (audio) , a-, -ˈstyüt \

Definition of astute

: having or showing shrewdness and an ability to notice and understand things clearly : mentally sharp or clever an astute observer astute remarks also : crafty, wily

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from astute

astutely adverb
astuteness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for astute

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

The Difference Between Astute, Shrewd, and Sagacious

Astute is similar in meaning to shrewd and sagacious, but there are subtle differences in connotation among them. All three suggest sharp thinking and sound judgment, but shrewd stresses practical, hardheaded cleverness and judgment ("a shrewd judge of character"), whereas sagacious implies wisdom and foresight combined with good judgment ("sagacious investors"). Astute, which derives from the Latin noun astus, meaning "craft," suggests cleverness, mental sharpness, and diplomatic skill ("an astute player of party politics").

Examples of astute in a Sentence

We thought they were not very intellectually astute, but we didn't really understand how political a lot of what they were doing was. — Ben Wallace-Wells, Rolling Stone, 15 Nov. 2007 He asked astute diagnosticians around the country how they approached and cracked difficult diagnoses and what happened when they failed. Misdiagnosis is not an insignificant problem: Groopman cites a finding that between one in six and one in seven patients is incorrectly assessed. — Ruth Levy Guyer, Wilson Quarterly, Summer 2007 And finally, even if she had never actually uttered the bon mot that would be famously attributed to her, that if she had two heads, she would risk one in the king's service, could the astute young duchess actually have had input into the implausible negotiations? — Harvey Rachlin, Scandals, Vandals, and Da Vincis, 2007 Focusing largely upon Western alchemy during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, she has a sharp eye for how alchemical images surface in literature of that period. Readers of Ben Jonson, Christopher Marlowe, and William Shakespeare will find illuminating insights. Abraham reveals the far reaches of her astute literary intelligence by analyzing alchemical imagery encoded in a broad range of works, from Chaucer and Milton to Vladimir Nabokov and P. G. Wodehouse. — Norman Weinstein, Parabola, November 1999 He is an astute observer of the current political scene. Astute readers will notice the error. His analysis of the battle was very astute.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web During his years with the company, Mr. Sinwell came to be viewed as an astute leader and a mentor to many of its employees. Frederick N. Rasmussen, baltimoresun.com, 16 Oct. 2021 But astute viewers quickly figured out that the candid interaction between Gibbs and Fornell was to help set up his upcoming absence from the show. Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, 5 Oct. 2021 Mullen’s astute game plans and play-calling have earned praise during much of his four seasons at Florida. Edgar Thompson, orlandosentinel.com, 4 Oct. 2021 Only then will my friend the astute Asian ambassador be able to rest easy, secure in the knowledge that the decline of American influence in the Indo-Pacific is a book that will never be written. Tim Groser, WSJ, 29 Sep. 2021 Scratching my car for a few packets of secret sauce was not very astute on my part. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 27 Sep. 2021 From her sorrow and solitude, Jordan reemerges as one of indie rock's most astute, confident, and compelling songwriters. Ew Staff, EW.com, 22 Sep. 2021 Stevens had until October to give Williams, 23, an extension on his rookie contract but made the astute move of giving the former Texas A&M standout long-term security in exchange for a manageable deal — $13.5 million per season. BostonGlobe.com, 20 Aug. 2021 But as Adom Getachew argues in her astute and incisive first book, Worldmaking After Empire, that is pretty much the opposite of the truth. Fara Dabhoiwala, The New York Review of Books, 1 July 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'astute.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of astute

1565, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for astute

Latin astutus, from astus craft

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About astute

Listen to Our Podcast About astute

Dictionary Entries Near astute

Asturias

astute

Astyanax

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for astute

Last Updated

22 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Astute.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/astute. Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for astute

astute

adjective
as·​tute | \ ə-ˈstüt How to pronounce astute (audio) , -ˈstyüt \

Kids Definition of astute

: very alert and aware : clever an astute observer

Other Words from astute

astutely adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on astute

Nglish: Translation of astute for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of astute for Arabic Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!