wise

adjective
\ˈwīz \
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

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

wise

verb (1)
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 up wise him up about procedures

wise

noun

Definition of wise (Entry 3 of 7)

: manner, way in any wise

wise

verb (2)
wised; wising

Definition of wise (Entry 4 of 7)

transitive verb

1 chiefly Scotland

a : direct, guide

b : advise, persuade

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

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 \

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

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

To protect their own interests, Nevadans would be wise to vote for more choice and against mandates in how their electricity is generated and who provides it. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Nevada’s Power Politics," 2 Nov. 2018 And politically speaking, that might have been wise. Fox News, "Brit Hume on fallout from Kavanaugh hearing; Alan Dershowitz on Rachel Mitchell's performance," 28 Sep. 2018 Much like Ama Lou is wise beyond her years, her debut EP DDD stretches far beyond its 10-minute runtime. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "This Drake-Approved Singer Is Bringing Back Cool, Crimped Waves," 8 Aug. 2018 So the decision to avoid the naughty school-girl vibe was wise. Cara Kelly, USA TODAY, "Britney Spears is back on tour and you better believe she's here to work," 13 July 2018 The grams of fat, based on a 2,000-calorie diet, piled up to nearly 21 times of what’s thought to be wise. Bryce Miller, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Lakers could contend sooner than you think; much work remains for Padres," 6 July 2018 Even if the crowds are not large at Citizens Bank Park the next two days, those in attendance would be wise to make Machado feel welcome. Bob Brookover, Philly.com, "Some Orioles would look good in Phillies' red pinstripes | Extra Innings," 3 July 2018 The Valspar Championship and the Honda Classic are two tournaments in that stretch that will suffer field-wise, as elite players simply won’t play nine times in 10 weeks. Daniel Rapaport, SI.com, "FORE Questions: Breaking Down the New PGA Tour Schedule," 12 July 2018 To be clear, this is not a good movie, plot- or acting-wise. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "The 13 Sexiest Movies on Netflix for When Porn Is Too Much Effort," 6 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Still, fans are hopeful that Arya and/or Sansa will wise up to Littlefinger's machinations and turn on him. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "All the Fan Theories About 'Game of Thrones' Season 7 Finale Ranked from Least to Most Likely to Come True," 26 Aug. 2017 The Belgian international understands what his new boss wants to implement at Selhurst Park and he's suggested that his teammates need to wise up to what their Dutch manager is demanding from them, according to Daily Star reports. SI.com, "Benteke Pleads With Eagles Teammates to 'Get Used to' New Manager's Tactics," 14 Aug. 2017 Voters need to wise up to the shenanigans being played by their state leaders and the governor, or prepare to open their wallets to pay for this money pit being created by our one-party system. Orange County Register, "State budget needs real balance," 21 Jan. 2017 There are stories of wrestlers who hesitated to wise up their spouses and children, even if that meant faking injuries around the house. Jeremy Gordon, New York Times, "Magazine | Notebook," 27 May 2016

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

Statistics for wise

Last Updated

13 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for wise

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for wise

wise

adjective

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

: 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

: with regard to

wise

adjective
\ˈwīz \
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.

\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

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

by force of circumstances

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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!