\ ˈsmärt How to pronounce smart (audio) \
smarter; smartest

Definition of smart

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1 : having or showing a high degree of mental ability : intelligent, bright a smart young student a smart decision/investment/idea That wasn't a very smart thing to do. The pursuit of genius or at least being the smartest person in the room continues to tantalize humans.— Lydia Dishman
2a : witty, clever a smart comedy/sitcom
b informal : rude or impolite in a bold and disrespectful way Don't get smart with me.
3a : neat entry 1, trim entry 2 soldiers in smart uniforms
b : stylish or elegant in dress or appearance For this fall, the smartest skirts will feature hemlines that are either quite long or quite short …The New York Times Magazine a member of the smart set
c : appealing to sophisticated tastes : characteristic of or patronized by fashionable society We dined late at the Oasis, possibly the smartest restaurant in town …— Geri Trotta
4a of a weapon : able to be altered in course during flight : being a guided missile a laser-guided smart bomb
b : operating by automation a smart machine tool
c : using a built-in microprocessor for automatic operation, for processing of data, or for achieving greater versatility a smart card By now we're familiar with smart electricity grids, those IT-enhanced networks that generate and distribute power locally …— Robert Visscher
5 : marked by often sharp, forceful activity or vigorous strength a smart pull of the starter cord
6 : brisk entry 1, spirited walking at a smart pace
7 : causing a sharp stinging … their softest touch as smart as lizard's stings …— Shakespeare


smarted; smarting; smarts

Definition of smart (Entry 2 of 4)

intransitive verb

1 : to cause or be the cause or seat of a sharp stinging pain also : to feel or have such a pain
2a : to feel or endure distress, remorse, or embarrassment smarting from wounded vanity— W. L. Shirer
b : to pay a heavy or stinging penalty would have to smart for this foolishness



Definition of smart (Entry 3 of 4)

1 : a smarting pain especially : a stinging local pain
2 : poignant grief or remorse was not the sort to get over smarts— Sir Winston Churchill
3 smarts plural, slang : intelligence, know-how



Definition of smart (Entry 4 of 4)

: in a smart manner : smartly

Other Words from smart


smartly adverb
smartness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for smart

Synonyms: Adjective

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of smart in a Sentence

Adjective Poodles are said to be smart dogs. That was a smart investment. He gave her a smart answer. Verb Her eyes were smarting from the smoke. the injection only smarted for a moment Noun the toddler was whining over the smart from the cut she had the smarts to start college at age 16, but perhaps not the emotional maturity Adverb He plays smart and the fans appreciate that. I dress smarter than she does. Play it smart during the contract negotiations and you'll get more vacation time. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Theo, who works in international development, is drawn to lively, smart and determined women. Vijai Nathan, Washington Post, 19 May 2022 Professors will expect a lot from you, and your peers will be smart and engaged. Adam Weinberg For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, 15 May 2022 Hilson plays Naomi Josef, a fresh-faced, smart and enthusiastic idealist who leads with her heart and radiates warmth. Selome Hailu, Variety, 12 May 2022 Like the Dodgers, the Angels have a smart and capable front office headed by Perry Minasian and Alex Tamin, who bolstered the team’s rotation and bullpen. Dylan Hernández, Los Angeles Times, 12 May 2022 This is the first time since 2019 that the celebration will be run without COVID-19 guidelines in place, although officials caution visitors to stay smart and safe. Mark Heim |, al, 8 May 2022 Credit Washington’s smart and simple game plan taking the speed out of the Panthers. Dave Hyde, Sun Sentinel, 7 May 2022 Natural gas is central to a smart and achievable policy to cut greenhouse-gas emissions today. WSJ, 25 Apr. 2022 Other brands like Bodily have since emerged, dedicated to smart and compassionate products and educational content that address the fourth trimester, breastfeeding, and pregnancy loss. Emily Barasch, Vogue, 22 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb And can smart regulation ensure companies are providing equal opportunities to all potential employees? Kristen Bellstrom, Fortune, 10 Nov. 2021 Why would smart people follow their leaders in unknown, possibly risky terrain, when even those leaders are unsure about the smartest way ahead? Jean-francois Cousin, Forbes, 29 Oct. 2021 Everything from cell phones to smart watches to navigation systems on cars, commercial planes, and cargo ships relies on GPS. Sarah Scoles, Wired, 17 June 2021 Prime Day is one of the best times to snag steep discounts on tech products, from streaming devices to smart gadgets to wearable accessories. Alex Warner,, 22 June 2021 Options range from simple bulbs that slot into regular fixtures to smart light strips that can be installed in unlikely spots. Simon Hill, Wired, 15 Apr. 2021 Upgrade to smart home lighting with this starter kit, which includes four white and colour ambient bulbs and a Hue home hub to voice control your lights. Fiona Tapp, CNN Underscored, 13 Oct. 2020 One pundit insists that newspapers, radio and television didn’t destroy civilization, and neither will smart phones. John Horgan, Scientific American, 7 Oct. 2020 Some were still smarting from last year's 21-14 loss to Pickerington Central while some were making post-workout pool plans in 6-foot socially distant shouts. Scott Springer,, 27 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Humanity has never come up with a more perfect instrument than social media to separate the smart from the dense, the mature from the childish and the self-aware from the self-absorbed. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, 12 Mar. 2022 New York smart tells us that this situation and moment are not about the facts. Julia Jacobo, ABC News, 10 Aug. 2021 Carl ended up teaching the smartest of the smart at the Naval Academy for the Trident Scholars, where his maxim formed a part of the curriculum. Ellevate, Forbes, 24 May 2021 Emsisoft analyst Brett Callow called AXA's decision smart, noting that some organizations seem more inclined to pay ransom if the money isn't coming from their own pockets. Frank Bajak, Star Tribune, 6 May 2021 Anthes is bullish on the possibilities of the smart. Max Holleran, The New Republic, 3 Dec. 2020 Apple might finally release AirTags, a coin-size smart-tracker that relies on Apple's iCloud network to help users locate missing items. Irina Ivanova, CBS News, 13 Oct. 2020 Now, with Democrats running to deny Trump a second term, on a ticket to be headed by former Vice President Joe Biden, a great debate rages in the party over the extent of Trump's political smarts and acumen. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, 29 Apr. 2020 Under the hood, Apple has stuffed the computing smarts of its flagship 6.1-inch iPhone 11 into the SE's 4.7-inch body, making it arguably the most powerful budget device on the market. Samantha Murphy Kelly, CNN, 25 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb The stand has a sleek design made from thin but sturdy fiberglass, pieced together in a smart-looking Z-shape. Thomas Hindle, The Hollywood Reporter, 6 Apr. 2022 The smart-looking bag is made from a two-tone high-tech fabric with a clean design. Adam Morganstern, Forbes, 9 Dec. 2021 The advent of 5G also boosted demand for more powerful server chips to handle cloud computing, artificial intelligence and smart-driving technologies. Takashi Mochizuki, Fortune, 16 Sep. 2021 Last year Honda launched its first-ever EV, the tiny, quirky yet aptly named ‘Honda e,’ while Mazda also debuted the smart-looking MX-30, its first electric crossover. Peter Lyon, Forbes, 29 June 2021 Oasis, in 1996, was Britain: slouchy, cynical, funny, smart-arsed, brash, but a bit sensitive and bookish underneath. Kyle Smith, National Review, 10 July 2021 And then there was the girl's pantsuit: a smart-looking ensemble composed of a single-button marigold jacket and a matching pair of oversized slacks that hit a couple of inches above the ankle. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, 1 June 2021 But here’s the thing: That’s exactly why training smart and consistently is so incredibly important. Carey Lohrenz, Forbes, 18 May 2021 This is a smart-looking router that feels well built. Mark Sparrow, Forbes, 15 Apr. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of smart


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 7


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


13th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for smart


Middle English smert causing pain, from Old English smeart; akin to Old English smeortan


Middle English smerten, from Old English smeortan; akin to Old High German smerzan to pain

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The first known use of smart was before the 12th century

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Last Updated

21 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Smart.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for smart


\ ˈsmärt How to pronounce smart (audio) \
smarter; smartest

Kids Definition of smart

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : quick to learn or do : bright smart students
2 : showing good judgment : wise a smart decision
3 : fresh sense 8 "You tryin' to be smart with me, boy?"— Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Shiloh
4 : stylish and fashionable a smart dresser
5 : brisk sense 1, spirited I was walking at a smart pace.
6 : controlled by computers and able to do things that seem intelligent a smart machine

Other Words from smart

smartly adverb
smartness noun


smarted; smarting

Kids Definition of smart (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : to cause or feel a sharp stinging pain My eyes were smarting from the smoke.
2 : to be upset She's still smarting from the criticism.



Kids Definition of smart (Entry 3 of 3)

: a stinging pain usually in one spot


intransitive verb
\ ˈsmärt How to pronounce smart (audio) \

Medical Definition of smart

: to cause or be the cause or seat of a sharp poignant pain rapid fatigue with burning and smarting of the conjunctiva— H. G. Armstrong also : to feel or have such a pain

More from Merriam-Webster on smart

Nglish: Translation of smart for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of smart for Arabic Speakers


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