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  • Noun

perspicacity

pur-spi-KAS-i-tee

Context
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Samuel’s perspicacity made him an ideal company employee: he was not only quick to understand the company’s structure, but could also easily identify ways to succeed. His perspicacity and clear insight led the board of directors to recommend him early on as a valuable partner. The board wanted this company to move into the marketplace quickly, and knew that people who exercised perspicacity and clear reasoning were essential in making this happen.

Quiz: What is perspicacity?

  • A way of identifying successful business methods.
  • A penetrating intelligence.
  • The ability to choose a good business partner.

Memory Hook
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Spice City "How to bring people to our city? Ah, ha, people love spice, so we will not only offer them free spice when they come to our city, but we will have the lovely smell of spices all about our sweet-smelling city!" So great was the perspicacity of our city's marketing expert!

Examples
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  • Heat and animosity, contest and conflict, may sharpen the wits, although they rarely do; they never strengthen the understanding, clear the perspicacity, guide the judgment, or improve the heart. — Walter Savage Landor, English writer Walter savage landor, english writer
  • “You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive,” the middle-aged man said in greeting as the doctor entered the room. The doctor, just returned from the second Anglo-Afghan War, was amazed by the man’s perspicacity. —The New York Times Magazine
  • Brute force isn't the only source of strength, and spiritual devotion isn't a sign of diminished intellectual perspicacity. —Newsweek
  • In 57 percent of the tests, the ape chose the box that elicited a smile from the scientist rather than an expression of disgust. Good choice. The box that brought the smile contained a grape, and the ape was rewarded for his perspicacity in reading human facial expressions. —Newsweek

Word Ingredients
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per- through
spic see, observe, look, watch over
-acity characteristics of

Perspicacity refers to the “characteristics of seeing through” something in order to quickly understand it.

Word Constellation
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Perspicacity

Word Variants
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perspicacious adj very perceptive; quick to understand
perspicuity n clearness of expression; intelligibility
perspicuous adj clear in expression; highly intelligible