Printable Version
Pronunciation: sê-gay-shês Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Acutely intelligent, wise, shrewd, astute, judicious, perspicacious and insightful.

Notes: Today's word is not absolutely synonymous with wise. The denotation (meaning) is synonymous but the connotation (implications) is not. This word denotes a formal, more serious wisdom than wise. Its noun is sagacity.

In Play: Remember that this word refers to wisdom beyond wise: "Detective Wright sagaciously told the suspect that the only person he could eliminate at that stage of his investigation was himself." It should be used more in job interviews: "I don't think him sagacious enough for his years to work well in such a demanding job."

Word History: Today's Good Word is based on Latin sagax, sagac- "acutely perceptive, sagacioius", passed down from PIE sag- "to seek (out)". This same root came to English through its Germanic ancestors as seek. The Old Norse (Viking) version of this root was saka "to seek" (Modern Norwegian søke), which English borrowed from the original Norse compounds as ransack and ramshackle. Old Norse rann "house" + saka "to seek" became English ransack, and ramshackle is a variant of Middle English ransackled, the past participle of ransackle "to ransack frequently". (The very sagacious, prolific contributor Lew Jury recommended we do today's fascinating Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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