Meaning of shrewd in English:


Pronunciation /ʃruːd/

See synonyms for shrewd

Translate shrewd into Spanish


  • 1Having or showing sharp powers of judgement; astute.

    ‘she was shrewd enough to guess the motive behind his gesture’
    • ‘a shrewd career move’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Slaveowners claimed that their practices, unlike sharp and shrewd Yankee treatment of factory workers, were unprofitable.’
    • ‘However, he worked hard and his shrewd diplomatic judgement enabled him to help forge an alliance with France in 1717-18.’
    • ‘Whether Gandhi made her move out of shrewd calculation or simple magnanimity, it was a political master stroke.’
    • ‘Shumba was a fast fellow though and with a shrewd, sharp glance at Shanza he sat back for a moment.’
    • ‘This acts as another check on presidential power and a shrewd president will realise this.’
    • ‘General manager Danny Ferry made a shrewd move in signing the 32-year-old power forward.’
    • ‘The sisters have already adopted a shrewd business move to allow children and their parents to learn together at the same time.’
    • ‘Her observations of people quickly gave her a shrewd idea of people's personalities and hence she could, for example, give friends advice on what to expect when associate with certain others.’
    • ‘In a press conference held in Melksham, the extent of his ill-gotten gains was revealed giving an insight into a man who the police describe as manipulative and a shrewd businessman.’
    • ‘Talking of money, the reporters were shrewd enough to know that there was an emergency allowance set aside for those deprived of their means of livelihood.’
    • ‘Miller's round body and comeback saga make him a fan favorite, but he's neither quick nor shrewd enough to play quality defense.’
    • ‘The case cannot be literally proved, of course, but we have a shrewd idea of what can happen when such regimes are left to choose the initiative.’
    • ‘The great Democratic presidents were not merely shrewd enough to balance their domestic programmes with a proficiency at fighting wars.’
    • ‘Aside from sponsoring motor races, Gordon was shrewd enough to recognise the potential of the infant motor industry.’
    • ‘So it apparently represents what he enjoys, but it may also reflect a very shrewd choice of career path in the future.’
    • ‘A shrewd businessman, he raised his fees to unprecedented heights - and his envious rivals followed his example.’
    • ‘Businessmen will hire shrewd youngsters, who will help boost business.’
    astute, sharp-witted, sharp, acute, intelligent, clever, alert, canny, media-savvy, perceptive, perspicacious, observant, discriminating, sagacious, sage, wise, far-seeing, far-sighted
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  • 2 archaic (especially of weather) piercingly cold.

    • ‘a shrewd east wind’
    1. 2.1(of a blow) severe.
      • ‘a bayonet's shrewd thrust’
    2. 2.2Mischievous; malicious.


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.