\ ˈwīz How to pronounce wise (audio) \
wiser; wisest

Definition of wise

 (Entry 1 of 5)

1a : characterized by wisdom : marked by deep understanding, keen discernment, and a capacity for sound judgment
b : exercising or showing sound judgment : prudent a wise investor
2a : evidencing or hinting at the possession of inside information : knowing
b : possessing inside information the police got wise to his whereabouts
c : crafty, shrewd
d : aware of or informed about a particular matter usually used in the comparative in negative constructions with the was none the wiser about their plans
3 : insolent, smart-alecky, fresh a tough kid with a wise mouth
4 archaic : skilled in magic or divination


verb (1)
wised; wising

Definition of wise (Entry 2 of 5)

intransitive verb

: to become informed or knowledgeable : learn used with up

transitive verb

: to give instruction or information to : teach usually used with up wise him up about procedures



Definition of wise (Entry 3 of 5)

: manner, way in any wise Old age seemed in no wise to have dulled him, but to have sharpened …— Herman Melville


verb (2)
wised; wising

Definition of wise (Entry 4 of 5)

transitive verb

1 chiefly Scotland
a : direct, guide
2 chiefly Scotland : to divert or impel in a given direction : send


adverb combining form

Definition of -wise (Entry 5 of 5)

1a : in the manner of crabwise fanwise
b : in the position or direction of slantwise clockwise
2 : with regard to : in respect of dollarwise

Other Words from wise


wisely adverb
wiseness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for wise

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Choose the Right Synonym for wise


wise, sage, sapient, judicious, prudent, sensible, sane mean having or showing sound judgment. wise suggests great understanding of people and of situations and unusual discernment and judgment in dealing with them. wise beyond his tender years sage suggests wide experience, great learning, and wisdom. the sage advice of my father sapient suggests great sagacity and discernment. the sapient musings of an old philosopher judicious stresses a capacity for reaching wise decisions or just conclusions. judicious parents using kindness and discipline in equal measure prudent suggests the exercise of restraint guided by sound practical wisdom and discretion. a prudent decision to wait out the storm sensible applies to action guided and restrained by good sense and rationality. a sensible woman who was not fooled by flattery sane stresses mental soundness, rationality, and levelheadedness. remained sane even in times of crises

Examples of wise in a Sentence

Adjective I'm a little wiser now than I was back then. The wisest course of action would be to leave. That was a wise choice. Many have benefited from her wise counsel.
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective On the off chance that Dallas goes all-in on small ball and starts Kleber in place of Powell, the Warriors would be wise to start the three-guard lineup of Wiggins, Green, Curry, Thompson and Poole. Connor Letourneau, San Francisco Chronicle, 18 May 2022 Veteran guard Marcus Smart, for one, insinuated that the Bucks’ decision was not wise. Adam Himmelsbach, BostonGlobe.com, 14 May 2022 While details might not be the most important part of your monologue for now, overlooking them entirely is not wise. Chicago Tribune, 14 May 2022 The mayor and council were defended by city attorney Arnell, who said city officials had been wise to ignore Ordinance 51′s stricter registration requirements. David Reamer, Anchorage Daily News, 8 May 2022 This is strictly a business decision - and a wise one at that, just based on salary cap implications and guarantees involved - and not necessarily a statement about how the Giants feel regarding Jones, his presence as a team leader and his future. Art Stapleton, USA TODAY, 28 Apr. 2022 Which is why the hybrid approach seems like a wise one. Joe Pinsker, The Atlantic, 20 Apr. 2022 Her garden, like many on the island, reflects the migration to more water-wise plantings from the traditional Coronado emphasis on roses and English country garden-style flowers. Nicole Sours Larson, San Diego Union-Tribune, 16 Apr. 2022 The hire, made by then-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, was a wise one. William Pesek, Forbes, 25 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Performance-wise the Surface Laptop Studio feels underpowered. Ewan Spence, Forbes, 30 Apr. 2022 However, outdoor companies are slowly starting to wise up. Jennifer Davis-flynn, Outside Online, 16 Mar. 2022 Relatively safe seeding-wise a few weeks ago, Xavier lost six of its last seven to fall to the danger zone on the bubble. Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY, 13 Mar. 2022 Moreover, in the fullness of time, hyenas, like guinea pigs, might wise up and become more docile and friendly. Joe Queenan, WSJ, 20 Jan. 2022 Numbers wise the Tide’s top 10 offense and defense have a shot against Georgia, but the eye test tells you no way. Joseph Goodman | Jgoodman@al.com, al, 2 Dec. 2021 As those residents wise up and keep the games from their homes, the only places left will be nations that don’t let principles get in the way of a massive cash grab. Jason Linkins, The New Republic, 20 Nov. 2021 These revelations should be a wake-up call for users of social media or those who are raising potential users of social media to wise up about the dangers. Kara Alaimo, CNN, 5 Oct. 2021 The odds are that once self-driving cars become prevalent, the general public will wise up that self-driving cars have this intrinsic capability of being a tattletale. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 12 June 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of wise


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb (1)

1905, in the meaning defined at transitive sense


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Verb (2)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for wise


Middle English wis, from Old English wīs; akin to Old High German wīs wise, Old English witan to know — more at wit


Middle English, from Old English wīse; akin to Old High German wīsa manner, Greek eidos form, idein to see — more at wit

Verb (2)

Middle English, from Old English wīsian; akin to Old Norse vīsa to show the way, Old English wīs wise

Adverb combining form

Middle English, from Old English -wīsan, from wīse manner

Learn More About wise

Time Traveler for wise

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near wise

wisdom tooth



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Statistics for wise

Last Updated

21 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Wise.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wise. Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for wise


\ ˈwīz How to pronounce wise (audio) \
wiser; wisest

Kids Definition of wise

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : having or showing good sense or good judgment : sensible a wise woman a wise decision
2 : having knowledge or information I was wise to their trick.
3 : rude or insulting in speech

Other Words from wise

wisely adverb



Kids Definition of wise (Entry 2 of 3)

: manner sense 2, way
Hint: This meaning of wise is used in such phrases as in any wise, in no wise, or in this wise.


adverb suffix
\ ˌwīz \

Kids Definition of -wise

1 : in the manner of
2 : in the position or direction of clockwise
3 : with regard to The movie is successful profit-wise.

Wise biographical name (1)

\ ˈwīz How to pronounce Wise (audio) \

Definition of Wise

 (Entry 1 of 2)

Stephen Samuel 1874–1949 American (Hungarian-born) rabbi


biographical name (2)

Definition of Wise (Entry 2 of 2)

Thomas James 1859–1937 English bibliophile and forger

More from Merriam-Webster on wise

Nglish: Translation of wise for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wise for Arabic Speakers


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