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adj. shrewd·er, shrewd·est
1. Having or showing a clever awareness or resourcefulness, especially in practical matters.
2. Disposed to or marked by artful and cunning practices; tricky.
3. Archaic Sharp; penetrating: a shrewd wind.

[Middle English shrewed, wicked, from shrew, rascal; see shrew.]

shrewd′ly adv.
shrewd′ness n.
Synonyms: shrewd, sagacious, astute, perspicacious
These adjectives mean having or showing keen awareness, sound judgment, and often resourcefulness, especially in practical matters. Shrewd suggests a sharp intelligence, hardheadedness, and often an intuitive grasp of practical considerations: "He was too shrewd to go along with them upon a road which could lead only to their overthrow" (J.A. Froude).
Sagacious connotes prudence, discernment, and farsightedness: "He was observant and thoughtful, and given to asking sagacious questions" (John Galt).
Astute suggests shrewdness, especially with regard to one's own interests: An astute tenant always reads the small print in a lease.
Perspicacious implies penetration and clear-sightedness: She is much too perspicacious to be taken in by such a spurious argument.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


 of apes: company of apes, 1452; shrewdness was defined in 1567 as naughtiness or mischievousness.
Dictionary of Collective Nouns and Group Terms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.




know what’s o’clock To be cognizant of the true state of affairs, to know what’s up; to be on the ball.

Our governor’s wide awake … He knows what’s o’clock. (Dickens, Sketches by Boz, 1836)

This expression is rarely heard in the United States, where the analogous negative is a familiar expression of ignorance: “He doesn’t even know what time it is.”

know which way the wind blows To be shrewdly aware of the true state of affairs; to have an intuitive sense of what will probably happen. The origin of this expression may have been nautical. One must know which way the wind blows in order to navigate a vessel. Variants of this expression appeared in print as early as the 15th century. Today it is used figuratively to indicate a commonsensical awareness of outside influences at work.

Philadelphia lawyer A shrewd, sharp lawyer well-acquainted with the intricacies and subtleties of the law; a very clever lawyer who uses his knowledge of legal technicalities and fine points to his advantage; a shyster. The reference is apparently to Alexander Hamilton, a former attorney general in Philadelphia. In a case of criminal libel in 1735, he obtained an acquittal for John Peter Zenger, the publisher of the New York Weekly Journal, in the face of what seemed to be irrefutable evidence. The decision established the principle of freedom of the press in America. Use of the term dates from the late 18th century.

The new violation ticket will be in quadruplicate, and traffic officials say it takes a “Philadelphia lawyer” to fix it. (The Daily Times [Chicago], November, 1947)

sly-boots A cunning, sly, or wily person, especially one who gives the impression of being slow-witted. In this expression, boots probably refers to a servant, stereotypically a dullard, who polishes boots and shoes. Thus, a slyboots is one who appears to be a dolt but who is actually shrewd and alert.

That sly-boots was cursedly cunning to hide ’em. (Oliver Goldsmith, Retaliation, A Poem, 1774)

A variation is sly as old boots.

smart as a whip Extremely bright, alert, witty, or clever; very intelligent; sharp or keen. This commonly used expression may have originated as a humorous twist on smart ‘sharp pain,’ such as that caused by a whip.

[He] was a prompt and successful business man, “smart as a whip,” as the Yankees say. (Mountaineer [Salt Lake City, Utah], March 24, 1860)

too far north Too clever or shrewd, smart or knowing, extremely canny.

It shan’t avail you, you shall find me too far north for you. (Tobias Smollett, The Adventures of Roderick Random, 1748)

This British slang expression is an allusion to the reputed shrewdness of the inhabitants of northern counties such as Yorkshire and Aberdeen.

Picturesque Expressions: A Thematic Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1980 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.shrewdness - intelligence manifested by being astute (as in business dealings)shrewdness - intelligence manifested by being astute (as in business dealings)
business enterprise, commercial enterprise, business - the activity of providing goods and services involving financial and commercial and industrial aspects; "computers are now widely used in business"
intelligence - the ability to comprehend; to understand and profit from experience
craftiness, cunning, foxiness, guile, slyness, wiliness, craft - shrewdness as demonstrated by being skilled in deception
insightfulness, acumen - shrewdness shown by keen insight
knowingness - shrewdness demonstrated by knowledge
street smarts - a shrewd ability to survive in a dangerous urban environment
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


noun astuteness, cleverness, sharpness, judgment, grasp, penetration, acumen, suss (slang), discernment, perspicacity, sagacity, smartness, quick wits, acuteness, canniness His natural shrewdness tells him what is needed to succeed.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
ذَكاء، دَهاء، مَكْر
glöggskyggni; kænska


[ˈʃruːdnɪs] N [of person] → astucia f, sagacidad f; [of assessment, reasoning] → lo acertado; [of remark, observation] → sagacidad f, perspicacia f; [of plan] → lo inteligente
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[ˈʃruːdnɪs] nperspicacité f
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


n (of person)Gewitztheit f, → Klugheit f, → Cleverness f (inf); (of businessman also, plan, move)Raffiniertheit f, → Geschicktheit f; (of investment, argument) → Klugheit f; (of assessment, observer)Schärfe f, → Genauigkeit f; (of guess)Treffsicherheit f
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[ˈʃruːdnɪs] n (see adj) → acume m, accortezza, astuzia, perspicacia
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(ʃruːd) adjective
showing good judgement; wise. a shrewd man; a shrewd choice.
ˈshrewdly adverb
ˈshrewdness noun
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.
References in classic literature ?
But coming to the other point--where a leading citizen becomes the prince of his country, not by wickedness or any intolerable violence, but by the favour of his fellow citizens--this may be called a civil principality: nor is genius or fortune altogether necessary to attain to it, but rather a happy shrewdness. I say then that such a principality is obtained either by the favour of the people or by the favour of the nobles.
Yet the American citizen plumes himself upon this spirit, even when he is sufficiently dispassionate to perceive the ruin it works; and will often adduce it, in spite of his own reason, as an instance of the great sagacity and acuteness of the people, and their superior shrewdness and independence.
"It's clear!" repeated the worthy servant to himself, proud of his shrewdness. "He's a spy sent to keep us in view!
"AND a passage home?" he added with a look of great shrewdness.
The chieftain thus left alone was confounded for an instant; but, recovering himself with true Indian shrewdness, burst into a loud laugh, and affected to turn off the whole matter as a piece of pleasantry.
With her usual shrewdness, Nellie had surmised the chief difficulty, but it dwindled in real importance because of the fact that Rose so frequently had the feeling that Martin merely had gone on a journey and would come home some day, expecting an exact accounting of her stewardship.
No crown of life is promised to the town of Smyrna and its commerce, but to the handful of Christians who formed its "church." If they were "faithful unto death," they have their crown now--but no amount of faithfulness and legal shrewdness combined could legitimately drag the city into a participation in the promises of the prophecy.
I have great confidence in his shrewdness and skill."
Sampson, an ignorant man conscious of his incompetence, but with a shrewdness that enabled him to combine other people's suggestions, constantly asked the opinion of the assistants in his department in making up new designs; and he had the quickness to see that Philip's criticisms were valuable.
As Mainhall had said, she was the second act; the plot and feeling alike depended upon her lightness of foot, her lightness of touch, upon the shrewdness and deft fancifulness that played alternately, and sometimes together, in her mirthful brown eyes.
They wanted interesting subjects; variety, resemblance to nature; genuineness of the article, and fresh paint; they had no ancestors whose feelings, as founders of galleries, it was necessary to consult; no critical gentlemen and writers of valuable works to snub them when they were in spirits; nothing to lead them by the nose but their own shrewdness, their own interests, and their own tastes--so they turned their backs valiantly on the Old Masters, and marched off in a body to the living men.
But I was young and spirited, and like most lads that have been country-bred, I had a great opinion of my shrewdness. I had come to his door no better than a beggar and little more than a child; he had met me with treachery and violence; it would be a fine consummation to take the upper hand, and drive him like a herd of sheep.