Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for February 24, 2020 is:

acumen • AK-yoo-mun  • noun

: keenness and depth of perception, discernment, or discrimination especially in practical matters


The author’s detective possesses a superior acumen that enables her to solve the most bizarre and puzzling of mysteries.

“Much of Pei’s business acumen was shaped early on in his career, in the late 1940s. After receiving his master’s from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard, he taught for two years alongside Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus School, whom he had also studied under.” — Spencer Bailey and Alex Scimecca, Fortune, 19 May 2019

Did you know?

A keen mind and a sharp wit can pierce the soul as easily as a needle passes through cloth. Remember the analogy between a jabbing needle and piercing perception, and you will readily recall the history of acumen. Our English word retains the spelling and figurative meaning of its direct Latin ancestor, a term that literally means “sharp point.” Latin acūmen traces to the verb acuere, which means “to sharpen” and is related to acus, the Latin word for “needle.” In its earliest English uses, acumen referred specifically to a sharpness of wit. In modern English, it conveys the sense that someone is perceptive enough to grasp a situation quickly and clever enough to apply that ability.

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