I need a single word in English encompassing a specific quality of someone who is so aware and astute that can easily understand and judge other people and their intentions prior to any attempt by them. Such people usually so experienced and sharp that can judge people often properly and make best decisions at the due time.


Harry: do you remember that wheeler-dealer who was in the office about two months ago Jason?
Jason: who exactly?
Harry: the agent who came here to get into partnership with our company's main stockholders!
Jason: ah, the bastard who was trying to play dirty against our holding by informing our rivals about our latest products and their qualities.
Harry: bingo, you hit the mark.
Jason: I'll always remember how Dr. Smith by exchanging a couple of sentences with him at the first meeting, noticed his under the belt intent and the way he gave the guy that runaround.
Harry: haha, yea. Doctor is a really ........... man.

I wonder what do you call Dr. Smith in this scenario.

The only word that comes to my mind is "shrewd", but I'm not sure if it is exactly what I need.

1 Answer 1


You could use 'sharp' or 'astute' directly, or a slight adjustment: "Doctor is really switched-on." 'Astute' is slightly more appropriate in this case than 'shrewd' as the latter tends to refer to financial matters, or similar.

  • Thank you @Mike Brockington. But where can I use "shrewd"? I don't know it's correct usage! I have read lots of contexts, but, although I know the other similar words meanings, I don't know where can I use this specific one. I wonder if you could help me with it a bit more.
    – A-friend
    Commented Jul 17, 2019 at 11:27
  • @A-friend: Use of shrewd has declined considerably over the past century, so I'd advise using it with caution, if at all. One collocation that bucks the trend is shrewd operator which is either good or bad (but very much open to interpretation). Commented Jul 17, 2019 at 13:31
  • 1
    The first phrase that comes to mind is "a shrewd investment", meaning one that makes good returns, particularly one that doesn't look special initially.
    – MikeB
    Commented Jul 17, 2019 at 15:50

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