\ 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
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 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



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


verb (2)
wised; wising

Definition of wise (Entry 4 of 7)

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 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


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

Definition of Wise (Entry 6 of 7)

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


biographical name (2)

Definition of Wise (Entry 7 of 7)

Thomas James 1859–1937 English bibliophile and forger

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Potential iPhone 13 upgraders would also be wise to wait, particularly given exciting new Apple hardware leaks. Gordon Kelly, Forbes, 9 Oct. 2021 Lindsey, who played nine seasons in the NFL, plus coached 21 years in the league, thinks an NFL team would be wise to take a look at Kapapa, in part because of his quickness and work ethic. Don Norcross, San Diego Union-Tribune, 8 Oct. 2021 You'll be tempted to just set everything to a new browser, but that's also not wise. Eric Ravenscraft, Wired, 6 Oct. 2021 But Democrats would be wise not to confuse McConnell with someone who cares about such pressure or might be embarrassed into folding his cards because his current stance conflicts with past positions. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 5 Oct. 2021 The forecast calls for a beautiful autumn Saturday, and metro Atlantans would be wise to enjoy the pleasant, dry weather before rain arrives for an extended stay. Henri Hollis, ajc, 2 Oct. 2021 Maybe the analytics say giving Correa, who just turned 27 last month, a similar contract isn't wise either. Matt Young, Chron, 1 Oct. 2021 The television commentators observed that Bryson would have been wise to simply back off and restart his pre-shot routine. John Guaspari, National Review, 26 Sep. 2021 Considering their often-disorienting appearance, this is wise. BostonGlobe.com, 23 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 Because appearance-wise the Purveyor burger is no super-babe. Matt Wake | Mwake@al.com, al, 3 June 2021 To help, 15 members of Forbes Technology Council share their best strategic approaches to wise IT budgeting. Expert Panel®, Forbes, 11 Mar. 2021 But a cleaner, more resilient grid could ultimately lower energy costs for everyone, many economists believe—if companies wise up about climate change and invest accordingly. Tim Mcdonnell, Quartz, 26 Feb. 2021 Some of that might not happen if a lot of people just wise up. Michael Smolens Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, 15 Nov. 2020 After Vietnam, Democratic presidents began to wise up. Kevin Baker, Harper's Magazine, 27 Apr. 2020 The right’s populists might wise up to this eventually. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, 15 Jan. 2020

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.

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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

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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

12 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Wise.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wise. Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for wise



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


combining form

English Language Learners Definition of -wise (Entry 5 of 2)

: in the position or direction of
: in the manner of
: with regard to : concerning


\ 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.

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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