1785, "practical sense, intelligence;" also a verb, "to know, to understand;" West Indies pidgin borrowing of French savez(-vous)? "do you know?" or Spanish sabe (usted) "you know," both from Vulgar Latin *sapere, from Latin sapere "be wise, be knowing" (see sapient). The adjective is first recorded 1905, from the noun. Related: Savvily; savviness.