Build your vocabulary with Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day! Each day a Merriam-Webster editor offers insight into a fascinating new word -- explaining its meaning, current use, and little-known details about its origin.
July 18th, 2016
Episode 589 of 830 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for July 18, 2016 is: astute \uh-STOOT\ adjective 1 : having or showing shrewdness and perspicacity 2 : crafty, wily Examples: The candidate made a number of astute observations about both foreign and domestic policy during the debate. "Sure, he was funny, but George Carlin was also anastuteobserver of the way humans think and behave." — Keith Magill, The Shawnee (Oklahoma) News-Star, 12 June 2016 Did you know? 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").