Mark Helperin’s column titled ‘Snapshot’ in Time magazine (August 15) begins with the following sentence:
“Here are the two data points most compelling to me:
(1) Many Democratic sharpies now think if unemployment doesn’t go above 9%, Romney is done and dusted.
(2) Speaker Boehner is reportedly having to calm the conference over the selection of one of its own to join the national ticket."
From the context, I suppose ‘sharpies’ here means ‘hard-liners, hawks, or persons fervent in their principles’ But I don’t find such meanings in any popular dictionaries:
Cambridge online dictionary has no entry of this word.
Oxford online dictionary defines ‘sharpie’ as
A sharp-plowed, flat-bottomed New England sailing boat, with one or two masts each rigged with a triangular sail.
(informal, chiefly North American) another term for sharper.
Merriam-Webster simply defines it as a long narrow shallow-draft boat, with flat bottom, plus ‘sharper’ as an ‘exceptionally keen or alert person’ which seems to me pretty close to my interpretation of ‘political sharpies.’
Wikipedia defines ‘sharpie’ only as an American manufacturer of writing instruments whose products are sold in over 20 countries. Originally a name designating a single permanent marker.
In net, none of dictionaries I’ve checked registers ‘sharpie’ in political connotation.
Is ‘sharpie’ a received English word? What does it exactly mean?