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Word Wednesday – Savvy – January 13, 2016


Savvy is the first word to feature in this, my inaugural regular Word Wednesday. One word in the mighty lexicon of the English language will be chosen each week. The idea is to help all writers to improve their vocabulary. It matters not whether you are writing a novel, a school essay, a thesis or a job application; a wide vocabulary improves the end result.

If you wish to choose a word please let me know and I will endeavor to accommodate your wish.

A love of words goes a long way towards one’s enjoyment of a book or any story spoken or written. My interest goes beyond the word per se as I often wonder about its origins. I hope this series will sometimes enlighten you and bring you pleasure.

I use the entries in Merriam-Webster and the Urban Dictionary. The latter is fun but also makes a serious contribution to the modern use of the language to ensure it continues to breathe fresh oxygen. It’s also amusing 🙂 (see the reference to Jack Sparrow!)

Also, note the comment on ‘savoir-faire’, I also believed that was the origin of savvy. Savvy? Please note that the dictionary entries are unedited by me.

verb sav·vy \ˈsa-vē\
Definition of savvy
Popularity: Top 30% of words
sav·vied sav·vy·ing
: understand

Examples of savvy

  1. The man growled, Don’t ever date my daughter again—you savvy?

Origin of savvy

alteration of sabi know (in English-based creoles and pidgins), from Portuguese sabehe knows, from saber to know, from Latin sapere to be wise —
First Known Use: 1785

Urban Dictionary


Yarr, I was swabbin’ the poop deck when me main mast took a tumble into Davy Jone’s Locker; Avast, it was me own ‘heartie, scurvy Sea-Dog Peg Leg who shivered me timbers; made ‘im walk the bloody plank, Savvy?
by Capn’Jack Sparrow July 14, 2003


  • intelligent
  • cool
  • smart
  • awesome [ed. note: I hate this one! it is bad enough when used in place of good or excellent, but savvy? Pleassse]
  • sav
  • savannah
  • savy
  • sexy
  • shrewd
  • technology
  • clever
  • cute
  • geek
  • in the know
  • savvi
  • smooth
  • tech
  • hip
  • suave
  • understand

Contributor’s comments were as follows:

  1. Technically means “Well-informed, perceptive, or shrewd”; in the summer of 2003, fans of “Pirates of the Carribean” adopted the meaning given to the word by Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack.
  2. Now used by PotC fans to mean, “Get it?”
  3. “Shut up or I’ll shut you up — savvy?”
  4. to be clued up is to be savvy. comes from the french verbs ‘savoir faire’, which means the ‘know how’.
  5. damn that boy is savvy.



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  1. Adam Lawrence Adam Lawrence

    Nice post, Steve. I like this new series; especially like that potential link to the French “savoir faire.”

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