Language: Old English
Origin: wis


1 adjective
wise1 S3

decision/idea etc

wise decisions and actions are sensible and based on good judgment [= sensible]
it is wise to do something
It's wise to check whether the flight times have changed before you leave for the airport.
be wise to do something
I think you were wise to leave when you did.
a wise precaution
I don't think that would be a very wise move (=not be a sensible thing to do).


someone who is wise makes good decisions, gives good advice etc, especially because they have a lot of experience of life:
a wise old man
At the time I thought he was wonderful, but I'm older and wiser now.
As a manager, Sanford was wise in the ways of (=knew a lot about) company politics.

be none the wiser/not be any the wiser

a) to not understand something even after it has been explained to you:
Charlie explained how the system works, but I'm still none the wiser.
b) used for saying that no one will find out about something bad that someone has done:
He could easily have taken the money and no one would have been any the wiser.

get/be wise to somebody/something

informal to realize that someone is being dishonest:
Teachers quickly get wise to students who are cheating.

➔ wise up

at wise2

wise guy

informal especially American English an annoying person who thinks they know more than they really do:
OK, wise guy, shut up and listen!

be wise after the event

to realize what you should have done in a situation after it has happened:
It's easy to be wise after the event.
wisely adverb:
Invest the money wisely.
He nodded wisely.

➔ sadder but wiser

at sad (6)
WORD FOCUS: intelligent WORD FOCUS: intelligent
similar words: clever especially BrE/smart especially AmE good at learning or understanding things quickly
intelligent - used especially about young people
a brilliant scientist, writer, student, historian etc is extremely intelligent and does very good work
informal very intelligent and good at studying
a gifted child is extremely intelligent
a wise person has a lot of experience and knowledge, and can give good advice
/crafty good at using your intelligence to trick people

intelligent people: genius someone who is extremely intelligent and has great ideas
someone who is well-educated and interested in art, science, or literature at a high level
a country's intellectuals, considered as a single group

See also

Dictionary results for "wise"
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