Share this entry

Share this page


Line breaks: shrewd
Pronunciation: /ʃruːd

Definition of shrewd in English:


1Having or showing sharp powers of judgement; astute: she was shrewd enough to guess the motive behind his gesture a shrewd career move
More example sentences
  • Pitt made his way to power more by shrewd political judgement and sheer luck than by public acclaim.
  • Your admirers and detractors alike have used these terms - an astute politician, shrewd, cunning - to characterise you.
  • He was a very shrewd, very sharp head of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
astute, sharp-witted, sharp, acute, intelligent, clever, alert, canny, perceptive, perspicacious, observant, discriminating, sagacious, sage, wise, far-seeing, far-sighted;
cunning, artful, crafty, wily, calculating, disingenuous
informal on the ball, smart, savvy
British informal suss
Scottish & Northern English informal pawky
North American informal heads-up
(be shrewd)have all one's wits about one
2 archaic (Especially of weather) piercingly cold: a shrewd east wind
2.1(Of a blow) severe: a bayonet’s shrewd thrust


Middle English (in the sense 'evil in nature or character'): from shrew in the sense 'evil person or thing', or as the past participle of obsolete shrew 'to curse'. The word developed the sense 'cunning', and gradually gained a favourable connotation during the 17th century.



Example sentences
  • The time has been spent wisely and shrewdly - in bed reading, sending e-mails to friends and cooking.
  • The movie presents her not just as ambitious talent; we also see the shrewdly calculating side that propelled her into the spotlight.
  • Immediately afterwards they were slain: the Spartans shrewdly calculated that these were the ones who presented the greatest danger.


Example sentences
  • Success in such great affairs is not a matter of cleverness, or even shrewdness, but instead a matter of honorable conduct and mutual confidence.
  • He is a man of some tactical shrewdness and no discernible principles.
  • Whether it is calculated shrewdness or insanity is the question at the heart of the nuclear stand-off.

Definition of shrewd in:

Share this entry

Share this page


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?