What does “savvy” mean anyway?

smiling women mothers to be

We use a lot of words. When we talk to each other, to children, to ourselves.

I wanted to use the first blog post to talk about why I chose to describe Mamas To Be as “savvy women who want to get healthy right now…. and have babies one day.” (This was my original tagline).

Both the noun and the verb came into use around 1785. “Savvy” is based on the Portuguese term sabe, meaning “he knows,” which itself is from Latin sapere, meaning “to be wise.”

The general definition of savvy is “shrewdness and practical knowledge; the ability to make good judgments.” Basically it’s practical intelligence, which I believe we all have.

Now read the following which is complete plagiarism from the lovely Marriam-Webster:

Did You Know?

You may be familiar with the noun savvy, meaning “practical know-how” (as in “he has political savvy”), and the adjective use (as in “a savvy investor”).

And if you’ve seen the blockbuster movie Pirates of the Caribbean, you also know that the verb is often used as an informal, one-word question meaning “Do you understand?” (as in “I’m Captain Jack Sparrow. Savvy?”).

But Jack Sparrow (i.e., Johnny Depp) didn’t invent the term. Both the noun and the verb came into use around 1785. “Savvy” is based on the Portuguese term sabe, meaning “he knows,” which itself is from Latin sapere, meaning “to be wise.”

Creole speakers interpreted the Portuguese term as “sabi” and began using it as one would “know.” Eventually, the Creole’s “sabi” evolved into savvy.

The West Indies origin of this word is also said to come from the French, “Savez(-vous)?” which means, “Do you (all) know?” So it’s like a question and directive all wrapped up into one.

I find this so fascinating. A small reminder that everything we do or say has a foundation in what came before, that our actions and words are steeped in history, old ways of knowing and believing about the world.

I also believe “to be wise” is pretty much the most important thing in life. That’s why I created this resource for women and do my work around birthing and bodies, to do my best to share and spread wisdom.

As I saw on a T-shirt once: “The main thing is to keep the main thing… the main thing!”

 

Published by mamastobe

I founded Mamas To Be as a resource for savvy women who want to live healthy right now, and have babies one day. My personal motivation was knowing that I want to be a mom one day, and what I learned became a professional passion for supporting women, babies and families through the experience of birth.

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