The Meaning of Savvy: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know someone who is savvy at something? This article is going to teach you all about the meaning of savvy and how to use it in a sentence.

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Do you consider yourself savvy? Maybe you’re tech-savvy, street-savvy, or savvy in social situations. If you don’t know what this means, read on to learn the definition of this word!

What Does the Word Savvy Mean?

According to Collins English Dictionary, the adjective savvy means to have common sense, practical understanding, or shrewdness of comprehension. The word savvy is two syllables (sav-vy), and the pronunciation of savvy is ˈsævi. You can alter the word saavy by adding -er, -ness, and -est to form savvier, savviness, and savviest.

What Are Translations of the Word Savvy?

The word savvy comes from French and Spanish, so it makes sense that it would have translations in other languages. It is always helpful to learn words in other languages, and this list of translations of savvy can help:

  • Spanish: sabi(o)/(a)
  • Turkish: akıllı‎, kurnaz‎
  • Roman: umješan‎, informiran‎
  • German: clever‎, klug‎, schlau‎
  • French: futé‎ (informal), malin‎
  • Italian: astuto‎, furbo‎
  • Swedish: smart‎, slug‎, klok‎
  • Cyrillic: умјешан‎, информиран‎
  • Persian: زرنگ‎ (zerang)
  • Finnish: fiksu‎ (informal), älykäs‎
  • Portuguese: sábio‎
  • Mandarin: 精明能幹的‎, 精明能干的‎ (jīngmíng nénggàn de)
  • Russian: смы́слящий‎, сообража́ющий‎, продви́нутый‎, (colloquial) куме́кающий‎, (colloquial) вруба́ющийся‎
  • Czech: vnímavý‎ (masc.), důvtipný‎ (masc.), řídící se zdravým rozumem‎, chytrý‎ (masc.)

What Is the Etymology of Savvy?

According to Your Dictionary of the English Language, the word savvy comes from a corruption of Spanish sabe, which means “know.” The infinitive form of the verb is the Spanish saber, which comes from Old Spanish. 

This could also come from the West Indies pidgin borrowing of the French savez-vous. This term comes from the Vulgar Latin sapēre and the present and past participles of the Latin sapere, from the Indo-European sep.

How Can the Word Savvy Be Used in a Sentence?

Reference the example sentences below to learn how savvy can be used in a sentence. To feel confident using this word on your own, it can be helpful to see it used in a variety of contexts. 

After you study these examples, you can use this word in conversation, writing, or to make example sentences of your own. 

The tech-savvy student at Princeton University made her own social media site that combines Facebook and Twitter; she quickly became proficient in numerous programming languages.

The media-savvy man had a real talent for talking to others. He had always enjoyed public speaking, and his career as a newscaster was perfect for his given skillset.

The man was not savvy at all and had no understanding of social cause and effect. He did not know how to hold himself in a room, how to hold a conversation, or how to hold his liquor. 

Savvy Washington insiders knew all about the corrupt presidency. The Supreme Court came after them when everything was revealed, but none of them were charged due to their even-savvier legal teams.

The savvy young child presented daily word facts and language news to her parents and peers. Her cognitive condition caused her to skip numerous grades in the UK. She aced all of her quizzes and went on to work in copyright at places like Random House and HarperCollins Publishers.

What Are Synonyms of the Word Savvy?

Power Thesaurus provided this list of different words with the potential to be used in place of the word savvy. These are called synonyms. Synonyms can be used in various situations, such as if you are searching for a word like savvy with a different connotation, if you have overused the word savvy, or if you are simply looking to grow your vocabulary: 

  • acuity
  • acumen
  • acute
  • appreciate
  • apprehend
  • apprehension
  • astute
  • astuteness
  • brainy
  • bright
  • canny
  • clever
  • cleverness
  • compass
  • comprehend
  • comprehension
  • discerning
  • discernment
  • fathom
  • figure out
  • get the picture
  • grasp
  • grok
  • gumption
  • horse sense
  • insight
  • intelligence
  • intelligent
  • judgment
  • know-how
  • knowing
  • perceive
  • perception
  • perceptive
  • perspicacious
  • perspicacity
  • quick on the uptake
  • quick-witted
  • realize
  • recognize
  • sagacious
  • sagacity
  • see
  • sense
  • sharp
  • sharp-witted
  • sharp-wittedness
  • sharpness
  • shrewd
  • shrewdness
  • skill
  • smart
  • smarts
  • street smarts
  • streetwise
  • understand
  • understanding
  • wisdom
  • wise

What Are Antonyms of the Word Savvy?

There are also many words that you can use to describe a person who is not savvy. For this, you would use an antonym, which is a word that has the opposite meaning of the word savvy. 

This list of antonyms for the word savvy comes to us from Power Thesaurus; be careful before using one of these words – if you call someone an antonym of savvy, they may not take it well!

  • arseholery
  • as daft as a brush
  • as dumb as a bag of hammers
  • as dumb as a box of rocks
  • as dumb as a doorknob
  • as dumb as a doornail
  • as dumb as a post
  • as dumb as a sack of hammers
  • as dumb as an ox
  • as dumb as dirt
  • as silly as a goose
  • as thick as a brick
  • as thick as a plank
  • as thick as champ
  • as thick as mince
  • as thick as two short planks
  • be at cross purposes
  • be mistaken
  • be under a delusion
  • birdbrained
  • brain-dead
  • cack-handed
  • chumpishness
  • claptrap
  • clueless
  • don’t know
  • dull
  • dumb
  • feather-brained
  • foolishness
  • ignorant
  • inexperienced
  • insanity
  • lost
  • mistake
  • mumbo jumbo
  • naive
  • obtuse
  • slow
  • stupid
  • thick as pigshit
  • weak-minded

Conclusion

Overall, the word savvy is an adjective that means understanding or comprehending. Someone who is savvy is very shrewd and has high practical knowledge. This word is often seen as informal and can be used as a verb in the UK. 

Sources:

  1. Synonyms of Savvy | Power Thesaurus
  2. Savvy antonyms – 234 Opposites of Savvy | Power Thesaurus  
  3. Savvy | Your Dictionary 
  4. Savvy definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary