In a word: Sagacity

March 21, 2011|By John McIntyre, The Baltimore Sun

Each week The Sun's John McIntyre presents a moderately obscure but evocative word with which you may not be familiar — another brick to add to the wall of your working vocabulary. Use it in a sentence in a comment on his blog, You Don't Say, and the best sentence will be featured next week. This week's word:


If you happen to possess that extremely rare combination of acuteness of discernment and soundness of judgment, people may admire your sagacity (suh-GAS-i-tee), in short, your wisdom. The word comes from the Latin sagax, "wise." The related adjective is sagacious.

The allied word sage, for a person of profound wisdom, traces back to the Latin root, sapere, "to be wise."

(The herb, however, we get from the French sauge, which in turn comes from the Latin salvia, "healing plant.")

Example: Thorstein Veblen observed, "All business sagacity reduces itself in the last analysis to judicious use of sabotage."

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