quick and clever


perspicacious = scharfsinnig, scharfsichtig, klar [weitsichtig]



“Are you quick at noticing, understanding, or judging things accurately? Then you are PERSPICACIOUS. You are able to determine, speedily, what people and situations are really like.”

BBC, Radio 4

“See-through vision - David Harsent’s Selected Poems 1969-2005 reveals a PERSPICACIOUS talent.”

Nicholas Wroe in The Guardian

Did you

adjective (nouns: perspicacity, perspicuity)

- quick in noticing, understanding, or judging things accurately

- having or showing penetrating mental discernment; clear-sighted

The Cambridge Dictionary / The American Heritage Dictionary


“Perspicacious” combines the Latin perspicac- from perspicax meaning “clear-sighted”; this in turn comes from perspicere “to see through”, with the common English adjective suffix "-ious".

The result is an interesting word used to describe someone (such as a reader or observer) or something (such as an essay or analysis) displaying the perception and understanding of subtleties others tend to miss.


A man named Pete had perspicacity
He could see things with great clarity.
His mental acuity had the knack
Puzzles and riddles always to crack.

Pete’s brain like a fine-tuned machine
Produced thoughts always pristine and clean.
He could think on his feet never missing a beat
And with perfect logic, always complete.

Friends gather around to hear Pete speak
To be regaled with tales that were unique.
His wit was sharp, and his humor was dry
But his PERSPICACITY is what made him fly.


- astute or wise in insight or intellect

acute, adept, all there, Argus-eyed, as sharp as a tack, astute, au courant, au fait, awake, aware, big league, canny, clear-eyed, clear-headed, clear-sighted, clever, clued-in, clued-up, crackerjack, discerning, eagle-eyed, Einstein, far-seeing, farsighted, fast, fast on the draw, foresighted, fully awake, gets it, got it, have the goods, having a good head on one’s shoulders, having no flies on, having smarts, hawk-eyed, ingenious, insightful, in the know (the picture, the wise), keen-eyed (-witted), keeping a weather eye on things, knife-like, know how many beans make five, knowing what’s what, lynx-eyed, mentally keen, nobody’s fool, no dummy, not born yesterday, not missing a trick (much), omniscient, on the ball, open-eyed, perceptive, percipient, PERSPICACIOUS, plugged in, prescient, quick-thinking (-witted), quick off the mark (on the draw, on the trigger, on the uptake), rapier-like, razor-edged (-like, -sharp), sagacious, sage, sapient, savvy, sentient, sharp-eyed (-sighted, -witted), sharp/smart as a tack (a whip), superintelligent, supersmart, switched on, top-drawer (-hole,-notch, -shelf), tuned-in, ultrasmart, visionary, whip-smart, wide-awake, wired, with-it, with eyes like a hawk, with your wits about you, X-ray eye(s)

SMUGGLE OWAD into an English conversation, say something like:

“A great leader should be PERSPICACIOUS, show respect for diverse social groups, and possess irreproachable ethics.”


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