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[shrood] /ʃrud/
adjective, shrewder, shrewdest.
astute or sharp in practical matters:
a shrewd politician.
keen; piercing.
artful (def 1).
Archaic. malicious.
Obsolete. bad1 .
Obsolete. shrewish.
Origin of shrewd
1275-1325; Middle English shrewed, in part representing shrew1 + -ed3 (cf. dogged1, wicked); in part probably past participle of shrewen to curse, v. use of shrew1 (see -ed2)
Related forms
shrewdly, adverb
shrewdness, noun
unshrewd, adjective
unshrewdly, adverb
unshrewdness, noun
1. quick, discerning, perceptive, perspicacious, sagacious, keen; discriminating, intelligent. See acute. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for shrewdness
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Her ruse of spoliation within the law was evidence of her shrewdness, nothing more.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • To this there was no reply; and they hated her the more for their having been silenced by her shrewdness.

  • Mr. Gordon believed that to shrewdness and persistence all things are possible.

  • He called upon all his shrewdness, all his trickiness of the South.

    A Spirit in Prison Robert Hichens
  • Also, at that time, he idolized his brother and believed in his shrewdness and capability.

    Cap'n Warren's Wards Joseph C. Lincoln
  • And is not shrewdness a quickness or cleverness of the soul, and not a quietness?

    Charmides Plato
  • Storms showed his shrewdness by the manner in which he managed the poor fellow.

    Adrift on the Pacific Edward S. Ellis
  • Her depravity did but stimulate her woman's shrewdness and tact.

    Henry IV, Makers of History John S. C. Abbott
  • "Very true," said Linton, affecting to be struck by the shrewdness of the speaker.

    Roland Cashel Charles James Lever
British Dictionary definitions for shrewdness


astute and penetrating, often with regard to business
artful and crafty: a shrewd politician
  1. piercing: a shrewd wind
  2. spiteful
Derived Forms
shrewdly, adverb
shrewdness, noun
Word Origin
C14: from shrew (obsolete vb) to curse, from shrew
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for shrewdness



c.1300, "wicked, evil," from shrewe "wicked man" (see shrew). Cf. crabbed from crab (n.), dogged from dog (n.), wicked from witch (n.). The sense of "cunning" is first recorded 1510s. Related: Shrewdly; shrewdness. Strutt's "Sports and Pastimes of the People of England" (1801) has a shrewdness of apes for a company or group of them. Shrewdie "cunning person" is from 1916.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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