out·​smart | \ ˌau̇t-ˈsmärt How to pronounce outsmart (audio) \
outsmarted; outsmarting; outsmarts

Definition of outsmart

transitive verb

: to get the better of especially : outwit

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Examples of outsmart in a Sentence

The government must gather large amounts of information in order to outsmart its enemies. an inexpensive security system that would likely be outsmarted by anyone with a serious interest in circumventing it

Recent Examples on the Web

In the past, Mr. Trump has tended to credit China with outsmarting the U.S. Josh Chin, WSJ, "Trump’s ‘Meddling’ Claim Plays Into China’s Trade Narrative," 27 Sep. 2018 For all his cable-TV cockiness, Avenatti seems to admit that Daniels could outsmart him. Amy Chozick, Vogue, "Stormy Daniels Isn’t Backing Down," 28 Aug. 2018 Here’s a look at how conspiracy sites keep outsmarting big tech companies. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Apple and Tesla head up this week’s earnings lineup," 30 July 2018 Often, students like Ender or Vampi tell me, the most brilliant ED011 students even outsmarted their professors and taught them some advanced Unix or Linux techniques. Andrada Fiscutean, Ars Technica, "The adventures of lab ED011—“Nobody would be able to duplicate what happened there”," 27 Aug. 2018 Smugglers constantly seek to outsmart U.S. law enforcement. Gina Harkins, Washington Post, "Illicit drone flights surge along U.S.-Mexico border as smugglers hunt for soft spots," 24 June 2018 Some biographers have speculated that the king did not want his daughters to be able to outsmart him. Eliana Dockterman, Time, "Elizabeth Didn’t Expect to Be Queen. Here’s How It Happened," 1 June 2018 The poem is sort of sneakily trying to outsmart you. Maria Russo, New York Times, "Tracy K. Smith and Jacqueline Woodson Talk Reading, Race and Spreading the Gospel of Literature," 19 Apr. 2018 In the Bible, this king eventually gets outsmarted by a Jewish orphan named Esther, her cousin Mordecai and a group of shrewd resisters. Rachel Held Evans, Washington Post, "The Bible is literature for the resistance," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'outsmart.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of outsmart

1924, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for outsmart

The first known use of outsmart was in 1924

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More Definitions for outsmart



English Language Learners Definition of outsmart

: to defeat or trick (someone) by being more intelligent or clever


out·​smart | \ au̇t-ˈsmärt How to pronounce outsmart (audio) \
outsmarted; outsmarting

Kids Definition of outsmart

: to beat or trick by being more clever than He outsmarted his enemies.

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More from Merriam-Webster on outsmart

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with outsmart

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for outsmart

Spanish Central: Translation of outsmart

Britannica English: Translation of outsmart for Arabic Speakers

Comments on outsmart

What made you want to look up outsmart? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a strong desire or propensity

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