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

Definition of wise

 (Entry 1 of 7)

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
d : aware of or informed about a particular matter usually used in the comparative in negative constructions with thewas 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
wised; wising

Definition of wise (Entry 2 of 7)

intransitive verb

: to become informed or knowledgeable : learn used with up

transitive verb

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

wise

noun

Definition of wise (Entry 3 of 7)

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

Definition of wise (Entry 4 of 7)

transitive verb

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

-wise

adverb combining form

Definition of -wise (Entry 5 of 7)

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

Wise

biographical name (1)
\ ˈwīz How to pronounce Wise (audio) \

Definition of Wise (Entry 6 of 7)

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

Wise

biographical name (2)

Definition of Wise (Entry 7 of 7)

Thomas James 1859–1937 English bibliophile and forger

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from wise

Adjective

wisely adverb
wiseness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for wise

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for wise

Adjective

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Scheduled to become a free agent in March, Schobert would be wise to join a more stable franchise where his skill set can really grow and blossom. John Owning, Dallas News, "The NFL’s top 10 off-ball LBs entering 2020: Do the Cowboys’ Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch belong in this group?," 14 Feb. 2020 Rather than wait for boredom to strike, couples would be wise to be more proactive. Gary W. Lewandowski Jr., The Conversation, "A 4-step maintenance plan to help keep your relationship going strong," 11 Feb. 2020 But word to the wise: Take a Lyft to the line, Pliny the Younger is a hefty 10.25 percent alcohol. Ellen Fort, Sunset Magazine, "Snag Bottles of Pliny the Younger for the First Time Ever," 10 Feb. 2020 Buying a house is a wise investment for the future, the argument goes, whereas renting one amounts to little more than throwing money down the drain. The Economist, "Better off renting? Owner-occupation is not always a better deal than renting," 18 Jan. 2020 In the photo, Moroccan (who goes by Rocky) is wearing a Deadpool mask and striking a tough pose in front of Reynolds, who, of course, stars as the wise-cracking anti-hero in the Deadpool franchise. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Mariah Carey's Son "Snuck Up" on Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds While Wearing a Deadpool Mask," 17 Nov. 2019 Instead, some teams will benefit from wise investments, and some will pay for poor ones, just like in professional baseball or basketball. Mike Finger, ExpressNews.com, "With usual suspects atop college football, could change bring opportunity?," 5 Nov. 2019 Video footage on Twitter shows De Rossi waving a flag in the Curva Sud with fans around him none the wiser. Matias Grez, CNN, "Daniele de Rossi wears impressive disguise to attend Rome derby," 30 Jan. 2020 Above them, the wise—people like Packer, people like Hitchens—busy themselves with the ideas that shape, and occasionally end, the lives of the rest. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, "The Enemies of the Truth," 27 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The right’s populists might wise up to this eventually. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, "Bernie Sanders Has Finally Got Republicans’ Attention," 15 Jan. 2020 Size wise the shrimp were on the shrimpy side for sure, but still an effective dish, particularly as a sharable or appetizer. Matt Wake | Mwake@al.com, al, "Huntsville’s popular taco-bus goes indoors," 1 Oct. 2019 But that's all changing, as more people wise up to the fact that Jordan actually has it all: religious and historical attractions, otherworldly landscapes, and cosmopolitan sophistication. Andrew Solomon, Condé Nast Traveler, "Traveling Through Jordan’s Historic Ruins, Red Dunes, and Dead Sea," 24 July 2019 Turner wants Elwood to wise up and look out for himself. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Fiction: Colson Whitehead Is One of the Finest Novelists in America," 12 July 2019 The 44th anniversary of Illinois’ state lottery is less than seven weeks away, and the only concern state government ever seems to have is when people wise up to the lousy odds, buy fewer tickets and revenue projections are missed. Phil Rosenthal, chicagotribune.com, "Morality a non-factor as Illinois, others weigh sports betting," 14 May 2018 America lags Europe in regulations protecting consumer data, but some companies are starting to wise up. Geoffrey A. Fowler, The Seattle Times, "Lessons from CES: How to make tech gadgets great again," 13 Jan. 2018 There are indications that some academic institutions are beginning to wise up to the dangers. Gina Kolata, New York Times, "Many Academics Are Eager to Publish in Worthless Journals," 30 Oct. 2017 Customers would eventually wise up and stop paying premium prices for GMCs. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, "GMC adds luxury, new looks to buff brand's image and boost sales," 16 Sep. 2017

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.

See More

First Known Use of wise

Adjective

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

Verb (1)

1905, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Noun

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

Adjective

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

Noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about wise

Time Traveler for wise

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for wise

Last Updated

20 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Wise.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wise. Accessed 25 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for wise

How to pronounce Wise (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of wise

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: having or showing wisdom or knowledge usually from learning or experiencing many things
: based on good reasoning or information : showing good sense or judgment
US, informal : saying things that are rude or insulting

English Language Learners Definition of -wise (Entry 2 of 2)

: in the position or direction of
: in the manner of
informal : with regard to
\ 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

wise

noun

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.

-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.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on wise

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wise

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with wise

Spanish Central: Translation of wise

Nglish: Translation of wise for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wise for Arabic Speakers

Comments on wise

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

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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