verb (used with object)

to get the better of (someone); outwit.


    outsmart oneself, to defeat oneself unintentionally by overly elaborate intrigue, scheming, or the like: This time he may have outsmarted himself.

Origin of outsmart

1925–30; out- + smart (adj.)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for outsmart

Contemporary Examples of outsmart

Historical Examples of outsmart

  • We place a mental block in your mind, but you outsmart us, and now you know our weakness.

  • Or, simply, because he thinks he can outsmart the policeman on the beat.

    The Highest Treason

    Randall Garrett

  • Just stay alive and you can outsmart these savages, he repeated ironically to himself.

    The Syndic

    C.M. Kornbluth

  • It's cat and mouse, who can outsmart whom, hunter versus hunted fun.

    Little Brother

    Cory Doctorow

  • Anything he's after must be worth plenty to any guy who can outsmart him.

    Man of Many Minds

    E. Everett Evans

British Dictionary definitions for outsmart



(tr) informal to get the better of; outwit
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 outsmart

"to prove too clever for," 1926, from out + smart (adj.). Related: Outsmarted; outsmarting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper