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wise1

[wahyz]
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adjective, wis·er, wis·est.
  1. having the power of discerning and judging properly as to what is true or right; possessing discernment, judgment, or discretion.
  2. characterized by or showing such power; judicious or prudent: a wise decision.
  3. possessed of or characterized by scholarly knowledge or learning; learned; erudite: wise in the law.
  4. having knowledge or information as to facts, circumstances, etc.: We are wiser for their explanations.
  5. Slang. informed; in the know: You're wise, so why not give us the low-down?
  6. Archaic. having knowledge of magic or witchcraft.
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verb (used with object), wised, wis·ing.
  1. Slang. to make wise or aware: I'll wise you, kid.
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Verb Phrases
  1. wise up, Slang. to make or become aware of a secret or generally unknown fact, situation, attitude, etc.: They wised him up on how to please the boss. She never wised up to the fact that the joke was on her.
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Idioms
  1. be/get wise to, Slang. to be or become cognizant of or no longer deceived by; catch on: to get wise to a fraud.
  2. get wise, Slang.
    1. to become informed.
    2. to be or become presumptuous or impertinent: Don't get wise with me, young man!
  3. put/set someone wise, Slang. to inform a person; let a person in on a secret or generally unknown fact: Some of the others put him wise to what was going on.
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Origin of wise1

before 900; Middle English (adj.), Old English wīs; cognate with Dutch wijs, German weise, Old Norse vīss, Gothic -weis; akin to wit1
Related formswise·ly, adverb

Synonyms

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1, 2. sage, sensible, sagacious, intelligent.

Antonyms

1, 2. foolish.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for wisest

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • How many things are there in the world in which the wisest of us can ill descry the hand of God!

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • Really, I am pleased with you for that, and it is the wisest thing you ever did in your life.

  • I have found it wisest to let him have his own way in times like these.

    The Underdog

    F. Hopkinson Smith

  • The ships did not get clear without some trouble, and we thought it wisest to shift our berth.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • The pirates wished clearly to be unknown, and it was wisest to let them think they were so.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper


British Dictionary definitions for wisest

wise1

adjective
  1. possessing, showing, or prompted by wisdom or discernment
  2. prudent; sensible
  3. shrewd; craftya wise plan
  4. well-informed; erudite
  5. aware, informed, or knowing (esp in the phrase none the wiser)
  6. slang (postpositive often foll by to) in the know, esp possessing inside information (about)
  7. archaic possessing powers of magic
  8. slang, mainly US and Canadian cocksure or insolent
  9. be wise or get wise (often foll by to) informal to be or become aware or informed (of something) or to face up (to facts)
  10. put wise (often foll by to) slang to inform or warn (of)
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verb
  1. See wise up
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Derived Formswisely, adverbwiseness, noun

Word Origin

Old English wīs; related to Old Norse vīss, Gothic weis, German weise

wise2

noun
  1. archaic way, manner, fashion, or respect (esp in the phrases any wise, in no wise)
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Word Origin

Old English wīse manner; related to Old Saxon wīsa, German Weise, Old Norse vīsa verse, Latin vīsus face
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for wisest

wise

adj.

Old English wis, from Proto-Germanic *wisaz (cf. Old Saxon, Old Frisian wis, Old Norse viss, Dutch wijs, German weise "wise"), from past participle adjective *wittos of PIE root *weid- "to see," hence "to know" (see vision). Slang meaning "aware, cunning" first attested 1896. Related to the source of Old English witan "to know, wit."

A wise man has no extensive knowledge; He who has extensive knowledge is not a wise man. [Lao-tzu, "Tao te Ching," c.550 B.C.E.]

Wise guy is attested from 1896, American English. Wisenheimer, with mock German or Yiddish surname suffix, first recorded 1904.

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wise

n.

"way of proceeding, manner," Old English wise, ultimately from the same source as wise (adj.). Cf. Old Saxon wisa, Old Frisian wis, Danish vis, Middle Dutch wise, Dutch wijs, Old High German wisa, German Weise "way, manner." Most common in English now as a suffix (e.g. likewise). For sense evolution from "to see" to "way of proceeding," cf. cognate Greek eidos "form, shape, kind," also "course of action." Ground sense is "to see/know the way."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with wisest

wise

In addition to the idioms beginning with wise

also see:

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.