Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Well informed and perceptive; shrewd: savvy Washington insiders.
  • n. Practical understanding or shrewdness: a banker known for financial savvy.
  • transitive v. To understand; comprehend.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Shrewd, well-informed and perceptive.
  • v. to understand
  • interj. Do you understand?

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • v. To understand; to comprehend; know.
  • n. Comprehension; knowledge of affairs; mental grasp; also, practical know-how; common sense.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To know; understand; “twig”: as, do you savvy that?
  • To possess knowledge.
  • n. General cleverness; knowledge of the world: as, he has lots of savvy.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the cognitive condition of someone who understands
  • v. get the meaning of something

Etymologies

From Spanish sabe (usted), (you) know, from saber, to know, from Old Spanish, from Vulgar Latin *sapēre, from Latin sapere, to be wise; see sep- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Alteration of save, sabi ("know") (in English-based creoles and pidgins), from Portuguese or Spanish sabe ("[he] knows"), from saber ("to know"), from Latin sapere ("to be wise"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • He speaks angrily about what he calls a savvy campaign by Pakistan's government under President Pervez Musharraf to fleece Washington for billions of dollars even as it allowed Al Qaeda to regroup in Pakistan's tribal lands.

    Ablogistan

  • "Our bargain savvy shoppers come early, grab tea or a mimosa, and spend quality time looking for right pieces to compliment their wardrobes."

    Modern Vintage Chicago Returns This Weekend (PHOTOS)

  • Sure, media savvy is not a prerequisite for success, lightning does strike (Dame Rowling, for example), but such hope is NOT a plan.

    At the Book Trailer Park: Hater, Mortal Coils, and Amberville

  • Mr. Malone, credited as a founding father of the cable TV business, is known as a savvy investor and tough dealmaker who has cobbled together a patchwork of businesses under the banner of his Liberty empire, including home shopping network QVC and premium cable network owner Starz Entertainment.

    Liberty Could Open New Chapter With Barnes

  • India's vaunted tech savvy is being put to the test this week as the country embarks on a daunting mission: assigning a unique 12-digit number to each of its 1.2 billion people.

    World Watch

  • A lack of media savvy is one of the reasons that the Police Forces across the UK have such a piss poor media image.

    Just To Show I Didn’t Make It Up…….. « POLICE INSPECTOR BLOG

  • David Louis Edelman - Edelman's web savvy is unmatched and his content is not only refreshingly original, but also interesting.

    SF Signal's 10 Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Author Blogs

  • But woods/prairie/mountain savvy and a moderate gun will go a long way.

    Sit Down, Shut Up

  • The conventional wisdom prevailing since the start of the 2008 campaign has always maintained that technological savvy is the specialty of Senator Barack Obama and his followers.

    G.O.P.’s Platform Gets Web Input - The Caucus Blog - NYTimes.com

  • But certainly the most extreme case of a museum done in by its own supposed marketing savvy is the Guggenheim, which under its former director, Thomas Krens, inaugurated an aggressive expansion plan.

    The Man Who Remade the Met

Comments

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  • I found this word in an article called "Three days in Sri Lanka", by Nathan Myers. It is used in the sentence as followed, " For a savvy traveler like Gaskell, Sri Lanka only reiterated what he already knew."

    September 22, 2010

  • This is one of my most hated words.

    December 4, 2009

  • Captain Jack Sparrow.

    June 23, 2009

  • 'I tried to crack on I hadn't noticed anything, but it kept on and on and I saw it was trying to attract my attention so I couldn't anything but try to savvy what it was on about...'

    - Peter Reading, C, 1984

    July 4, 2008