1785, slang, "practical sense, intelligence, knowledge of the world;" also a verb, "to know, to understand;" a West Indies pidgin borrowing of French savez(-vous)? "do you know?" or Spanish sabe (usted) "you know," the verb in both from Vulgar Latin *sapere, from Latin sapere "be wise, be knowing" (see sapient). The adjective, of persons, is attested by 1905, from the noun. Related: Savvily; savviness.
updated on January 09, 2022