out·smart | \ˌau̇t-ˈsmärt \
outsmarted; outsmarting; outsmarts

Definition of outsmart 

transitive verb

: to get the better of especially : outwit

Keep scrolling for more

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

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 This face-off eliminated the chance for the drama of a photo finish, but fans have to appreciate the genius behind outsmarting an opponent to take the checkered flag. Michelle R. Martinelli, For The Win, "Breaking down the clever strategy that gave Martin Truex Jr. a win at Sonoma," 26 June 2018 On his 48th birthday, Phil Mickelson might have outsmarted himself, Daniel Berger and Tony Finau came from 11 shots behind to share the third-round lead, and the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills turned slightly sideways and sinister. Ron Green Jr., charlotteobserver, "Course … and perhaps Phil Mickelson … go over the edge in wild U.S. Open third round," 16 June 2018 But in this past week’s battle with Pusha T, the 6 God appears to have been outsmarted for the first time. Billboard, "Did Pusha T Beat Drake at His Own Game With Vicious 'The Story of Adidon'?," 31 May 2018 Obsitnik’s veteran political team outsmarted and outmaneuvered five other candidates on the convention floor who dropped out of the race after failing to capture enough delegate support. Christopher Keating, courant.com, "Meet Steve Obstinik, The Westport Tech Maven Looking To Be Governor," 1 June 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.

See More

First Known Use of outsmart

1924, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about outsmart

Dictionary Entries near outsmart








Statistics for outsmart

Last Updated

11 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for outsmart

The first known use of outsmart was in 1924

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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 \
outsmarted; outsmarting

Kids Definition of outsmart

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


one that holds something together

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!