What is a 'sharp suit'?

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Senior Member
Can anyone explain what a 'sharp suit' is?

Here is the context: 'He is the land lawyer, in a sharp suit, who advised the government so closely that it is often said that he "wrote" Cambodia's investor-friendly 2001 Land Law'.
  • wolfbm1

    Senior Member
    This means a fancy, good-looking suit. Here the noun "suit" refers to a matching jacket and pants.
    This meaning of sharp in connection with clothes always puzzles and strikes me a bit because whenever I hear “sharp” it makes me think of something razor-sharp or pointed, like a razor-sharp blade or a pointed spear. I have always wondered why “sharp” came to be used as a quality of clothes.


    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    The OED tells us that it originated as a general term of approval in AE:
    7. As a general term of approbation. orig. U.S. slang.
    I suppose something that is sharp is better than something that is blunt. A sharp blade does the job efficiently, doesn't it?
    As a general term of approbation. orig. U.S. slang.
    It's generally a term of general approbation, yes. :)

    However, a "lawyer in a sharp suit" is rarely regarded as a positive figure. The phrase suggests a slick lawyer who exerts undue influence over a process or works devious schemes for his own or his employer's benefit rather than for the greater good.
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