Definition of acumen in English:


Pronunciation /ˈakyəmən//əˈkyo͞omən/


  • The ability to make good judgments and quick decisions, typically in a particular domain.

    ‘business acumen’
    • ‘His business acumen saw him build and purchase hotels in Galway and Dublin.’
    • ‘Your business acumen and professional creativity are tested in difficult assignments.’
    • ‘Of course, all this business acumen didn't come from heading out on the highway looking for adventure.’
    • ‘They seem genuinely surprised when the venture capitalists quite reasonably question their lack of business acumen.’
    • ‘He was born and brought up in Gorse Hill, and first showed his business acumen at the age of 13 when he began farming pigs in his back garden.’
    • ‘He said pilots would be chosen for their tactical acumen, ability to learn quickly and common sense.’
    • ‘Greed, under the guise of business acumen and entrepreneurship, has become the new religion.’
    • ‘But generally I prefer policies that demonstrate a scintilla of common sense and financial acumen.’
    • ‘With his footballing background and business acumen, he seemed the ideal choice for this highly prestigious position.’
    • ‘He went to law school and struck it rich through the exercise of great acumen in the oil business.’
    • ‘Councils need to be run by managers with initiative and a high level of business acumen.’
    • ‘His business acumen has seen the centre firmly established as a benchmark for the industry.’
    • ‘This elegant chief executive has the business acumen of the Americans and the undeniable style of the Italians in her origins.’
    • ‘From as far back as he could remember, he'd had his own sense of business acumen.’
    • ‘At the same time, many of the vice-presidents offer specialised skills, knowledge and business acumen.’
    • ‘It is not so much his tactical acumen as his ability to inspire that distinguishes Graeme Souness as a coach.’
    • ‘Anyone finding it impossible to profit where there is no competition simply demonstrates a lack of business acumen.’
    • ‘Joining the company as a trainee, his business acumen saw him quickly rise up the ranks to become general manager in 1955.’
    • ‘As the population shrinks, there are more opportunities for older people to prove their business acumen.’
    • ‘His friends say what he lacks in political savvy he makes up in business acumen.’
    astuteness, awareness, shrewdness, acuity, sharpness, sharp-wittedness, cleverness, brightness, smartness
    judgement, understanding, sense, common sense, canniness, discernment, wisdom, wit, sagacity, perspicacity, ingenuity, insight, intuition, intuitiveness, perception, perspicuity, penetration
    capability, enterprise, initiative, resourcefulness, flair, vision
    brains, powers of reasoning
    savoir faire
    nous, savvy, know-how, horse sense, gumption, grey matter
    sapience, arguteness
    View synonyms


Late 16th century: from Latin, sharpness, point from acuere sharpen (see acute).