savvy

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Alteration of save, sabi (know) (in English-based creoles and pidgins), from Portuguese or Spanish sabe ([she/he] knows), from saber (to know), from Latin sapiō (to be wise).

1785, as a noun, “practical sense, intelligence”; also a verb, “to know, to understand”; West Indies pidgin borrowing of French savez(-vous) (do you know) or Spanish sabe (usted) (you know), both from Vulgar Latin *sapere, from Latin sapere (be wise, be knowing) (see sapient). The adjective is first recorded 1905, from the noun.

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

savvy (comparative savvier, superlative savviest)

  1. (informal) Shrewd, well-informed and perceptive.
    • 22 March 2012, Scott Tobias, AV Club The Hunger Games[1]
      That such a safe adaptation could come of The Hunger Games speaks more to the trilogy’s commercial ascent than the book’s actual content, which is audacious and savvy in its dark calculations.

Synonyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

savvy (third-person singular simple present savvies, present participle savvying, simple past and past participle savvied)

  1. (informal) To understand.

Translations[edit]

Noun[edit]

savvy (uncountable)

  1. Shrewdness

References[edit]


Chinese Pidgin English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Macau Pidgin Portuguese 撒㗑 (saat3 baai3), 撒備 (saat3 bi6), 散拜 (saan2 baai3), from Portuguese sabe.

Verb[edit]

savvy

  1. know
    • 1860, The Englishman in China, London: Saunders, Otley, and Co., page 44:
      My no sarby.
      I don’t know.
  2. understand

References[edit]

  • Gow, W. S. P. (1924) Gow’s Guide to Shanghai, 1924: A Complete, Concise and Accurate Handbook of the City and District, Especially Compiled for the Use of Tourists and Commercial Visitors to the Far East, Shanghai, page 108: “Savvy: (Portuguese) know; understand; No savvy ? Do you not understand ?”