Word of the Day : October 18, 2012

worldly-wise

play
adjective WERLD-lee-wyze

Definition

: possessing a practical and often shrewd understanding of human affairs

Did You Know?

"Worldly-wise" is one of a handful of compound adjectives formed from the word "wise" ("having wisdom or knowledge"). "Penny-wise" (from the phrase "penny-wise and pound-foolish") is a good word for describing someone who is good with only small sums or matters. "Weather-wise" can describe a competent meteorologist or someone who is competent in a different kind of forecasting: that of changes in opinion or feeling. These adjectives aren't especially common, but they do see occasional use. Even less common is "air-wise," which can be applied to people skilled in aviation. And if you master these words and feel the wiser for it, you may consider yourself "self-wise"-that is, wise in your own estimation.


Examples

The interns' supervisor addressed the group, saying "We don't expect our interns to be worldly-wise-we expect them to be conscientious, hardworking, and committed to learning how work in a small non-profit is done."

"His supposed ruthlessness is the perfect antidote to that greatest of sins for the worldly-wise-naïveté." - From Miles J. Unger's 2011 book Machiavelli: A Biography



Test Your Memory

What is the meaning of "undulate," our Word of the Day from September 13, 2012? The answer is ...


Podcast


More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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