Word: sagacious

Pronunciation: sə-GAY-shəs

Part of Speech: adjective

Definition: having or showing keen mental discernment and good judgment; wise or shrewd

Source: Oxford Dictionaries


Time to draw another word from the flashcard stack. Like others previously mentioned in my vocabulary segment, this one had me stumped the first time I read it even though it really shouldn’t have. I don’t remember what definitions I may have initially guessed, but I do remember thinking how simple it should have been to get it right once I recognized its similarity to the word “sage” (not the herb, the other meaning).

A “sagacious” person is someone who has a sharp mind and generally shows good judgment. The word arose in the 17th century, possibly as the adjective form of the noun “sagacity” (“keenness of perception”). These words stem from the Latin adjective sagax, meaning “wise” or “perceptive”.

I haven’t yet worked the word “sagacious” into one of my stories, not because it’s never accurately described any of my characters, but because I haven’t yet felt that it fits the tone of my writing. Maybe it’s just me trying to avoid flowery prose, but I often consider this word an unnecessarily sophisticated synonym for the word “wise”. Still, I suppose it could be used to describe a specific type of person, possibly someone who’s both wise and sharp-witted, so it’s certainly worth noting if you write plenty of intelligent characters. At the very least, a wise choice of words will help you come across as “sagacious” to your readers!

What are your thoughts on this word? Any suggestions for future “Word of the Week” featured words?

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