common sense, native wit
mother wit (uncountable) Inborn intelligence; innate good sense. c. 1591, William Shakespeare, Taming of the Shrew, First Folio 1621, act 2, sc. 1: Kate. Where did you study all this goodly speech? Petr. It is extempore, from my mother wit. 1596, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, IV.10: For all that nature by her mother-wit Could frame in earth, and forme of substance base, Was there . 1820, Sir Walter Scott, The Monastery, ch. 35: His mother-wit taught him that he must not, in such uncertain times, be too hasty in asking information of any one. 1830, James Fenimore Cooper, The Headsman, ch. 28: The buffoon, though accustomed to deception and frauds, had sufficient mother-wit to comprehend the critical position in which he was now placed. 1959 Dec. 21, "FICTION: The Year's Best," Time (retrieved 4 April 2011): Russian author Panova, writing with unostentatious excellence, has both the compassion and the mother wit to describe the world of a six-year-old—and to recall an existence that most grownups have forgotten. 2007 April 15, Terrence Rafferty, "Film: A Gumshoe Adrift, Lost in the 70's," New York Times (retrieved 4 April 2011): he classic private eye could operate effectively and get to the bottom of things with nothing more than nerve, mother wit and local knowledge.
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