shrewd / shroōd/ • adj. 1. having or showing sharp powers of judgment; astute: she was shrewd enough to guess the motive behind his gesture a shrewd career move. 2. archaic (esp. of weather) piercingly cold: a shrewd east wind. ∎ (of a blow) severe: a bayonet's shrewd thrust. ∎ mischievous; malicious. DERIVATIVES: shrewd·ly adv. shrewd·ness n. ORIGIN: Middle English (in the sense ‘evil in nature or character’): from shrew in the sense ‘evil person or thing,’ or as the past participle of obsolete shrew ‘to curse.’ The word developed the sense ‘cunning,’ and gradually gained a favorable connotation during the 17th cent.