Difference Between Smart and Wise

Main Difference

The main difference between smart and wise is that the adjective smart refers to intelligence, whereas the adjective wise refers to good judgment.

Smart vs. Wise

The words smart and wise fall into the category of the adjective in parts of speech. These are positive adjectives. Both these adjectives are similar in their meaning but are different in their usage. The adjective smart refers to intelligence, whereas the adjective wise refers to good judgment. Smart is an adjective that highlights that someone is intelligent. Wise is an adjective that emphasizes someone with great experience, knowledge, and good judgment.

The word smart is informal and refers to people of all ages. The word wise is more commonly associated with mature and experienced people. Smart covers attribute like quick-witted intelligence. Wise covers attributes like knowledge, experience, good judgment, sensibility, wisdom, and the like. The word smart has less admiration as compared to the word-wise. Smart is also used as a compliment for someone who is not intelligent enough but did something intelligent in a specific situation. However, wise cannot be a temporary compliment; rather, it is used to appreciate the overall intelligence of a person.

A smart person does not essentially have experience and knowledge. A wise person always has experience and knowledge. The word smart is an informal word and is commonly used among youngsters. The word wise is mostly used in formal contexts. As the word smart has informal use, it has more use in spoken language. The word wise being formal is preferred in written language but also seen in spoken language. Smart people tend toward logic. Wise people tend towards the emotional and spiritual sides of logic, as well.

Being smart does not require experience; theoretical knowledge is sufficient for it. Being wise requires a lot of experience. Smart people are good at their advantage by solving their problems. Wise people use their wisdom to inspire and help others. Smart people are quick in acquiring and applying knowledge. They also like to express and impose their point of view. Wise people acquire knowledge with full understanding by taking time, and also they listen to others to increase their knowledge. They are less likely to speak and impose their point of view. Smart people believe in their abilities and are confident about them. Wise people know their abilities but stay humble to learn more.

Comparison Chart

SmartWise
A positive adjective that refers to intelligenceA positive adjective that refers to good judgment
Associated With
People of all agesMaturity/mature people
Context
Informal
Experience and Knowledge
It does not requireIt requires
Spoken and Written Language
Mostly used in spoken languageUsed in both spoken and written language

What is Smart?

The word smart is a positive adjective. It refers to intelligence. The word smart is informal and refers to people of all ages. Smart covers attribute like quick-witted intelligence. Being smart is to have a high level of intelligence. Smart people tend to score high in their lives. Smart is also used as a compliment for someone who is not intelligent enough but did something intelligent in a specific situation.

A smart person does not essentially have experience and knowledge. This word is used in an informal context. It is commonly associated with youngsters. As the word smart has informal use, it has more use in spoken language. Being smart does not require experience; theoretical knowledge is sufficient for it. The adjective smart can also direct the physical appearance of a person. A neat and well-dressed person is described as smart. The comparative and superlative degrees of the adjective smart are smarter and smartest.

There are certain specific characteristics of smart people. Smart people are good at their advantage by solving their problems. They tend towards logic and are quick in acquiring and applying knowledge. They also like to express and impose their point of view. Smart people believe in their abilities and are confident about them. Wise people know their abilities but stay humble to learn more.

Examples

  • My new student is very smart.
  • Oh wow, you are looking smart!
  • I must say that you are very smart.
  • John is smarter than his elder brother Harry.
  • He is the smartest boy in his class.

What is Wise?

The word wise is an adjective wise that refers to good judgment. Wise is an adjective that emphasizes someone with great experience, knowledge, and good judgment. The word wise is more commonly associated with mature and experienced people. These adjective wise covers attribute such as knowledge, experience, good judgment, sensibility, wisdom, and the like.

Wise cannot be a temporary compliment; rather, it is used to appreciate the overall intelligence of a person. A wise person always has experience and knowledge. The word is mostly used in formal contexts. The word wise being formal is preferred in written language but also seen in spoken language. The comparative and superlative degrees of the adjective wise are wiser and wisest.

There are certain characteristics of wise people. They tend towards the emotional and spiritual sides of logic. Wise people use their wisdom to inspire and help others. They acquire knowledge with full understanding by taking time, and also they listen to others to increase their knowledge. They are less likely to speak and impose their point of view.

Moreover, a wise person has a broad area of knowledge. It is not only confined to books. It is the reason that wise people act upon the knowledge it has. He is also fully aware of his flaws that benefits him in finding new areas of information. Wise people know their abilities but stay humble to learn more.

Examples

  • The wise man advice the kids
  • It would be wise to tackle this situation with mutual discussion.
  • He is wise in the ways of politics.
  • The wife was wiser than his husband.
  • The wise precautions she took saved her life.
  • Our teacher’s wise words helped us to resolve the issue easily.

Key Differences

  1. Smart is an adjective that highlights that someone is intelligent, whereas wise is an adjective that emphasizes someone with great experience, knowledge, and good judgment.
  2. The adjective smart refers to intelligence; on the other hand, the adjective wise refers to good judgment.
  3. Smart has more use in spoken language, on the flip side, wise is preferred in written language but also seen in spoken language.
  4. The word smart refers to the people of all ages contrarily the word wise is more commonly associated with mature and experienced people.
  5. Smart covers the attributes like quick-witted intelligence inversely the word wise covers the attributes like knowledge, experience, good judgment, sensibility, wisdom, and the like.
  6. A smart person does not essentially have experience and knowledge; conversely, a wise person always has experience and knowledge.
  7. Smart people tend towards logic; on the contrary wise people tend towards the emotional and spiritual sides of logic as well.
  8. The word smart is an informal word, while the word wise is mostly used in formal contexts.
  9. Being smart does not require experience; theoretical knowledge is sufficient for it on the converse being wise requires a lot of experience.
  10. Smart people are good for their advantage by solving their problems while wise people use their wisdom to inspire and help others.

Conclusion

Smart and wise re two different adjectives having similar meanings. Both these words have differences in their usage.

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson

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