- to be a source of sharp, local, and usually superficial pain, as a wound.
- to be the cause of a sharp, stinging pain, as an irritating application, a blow, etc.
- to feel a sharp, stinging pain, as in a wound.
- to suffer keenly from wounded feelings: She smarted under their criticism.
- to feel shame or remorse or to suffer in punishment or in return for something.
- to cause a sharp pain to or in.
- quick or prompt in action, as persons.
- having or showing quick intelligence or ready mental capability: a smart student.
- shrewd or sharp, as a person in dealing with others or as in business dealings: a smart businessman.
- clever, witty, or readily effective, as a speaker, speech, rejoinder, etc.
- dashingly or impressively neat or trim in appearance, as persons, dress, etc.
- socially elegant; sophisticated or fashionable: the smart crowd.
- saucy; pert: smart remarks.
- sharply brisk, vigorous, or active: to walk with smart steps.
- sharply severe, as a blow, stroke, etc.
- sharp or keen: a smart pain.
- (of a machine, system, etc.) equipped with electronic control mechanisms and capable of automated and seemingly intelligent operation: smart copiers; smart weapons.
- having properties that can be changed in response to stimuli or environmental conditions; self-regulating: smart fabrics that respond to temperature or light.
- Computers. intelligent(def 4).
- Older Use. considerable; fairly large.
- in a smart manner; smartly.
- a sharp local pain, usually superficial, as from a wound, blow, or sting.
- keen mental suffering, as from wounded feelings, affliction, grievous loss, etc.
- smarts, Slang. intelligence; common sense: He never had the smarts to use his opportunities.
Origin of smart
SynonymsSee more synonyms for smart on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for smarting
Still fearful and smarting from the pain, I arrived on time and was led to chair in his office.I Was Gang Raped at a UVA Frat 30 Years Ago, and No One Did Anything
December 16, 2014
“I think we were smarting a bit at the criticism,” he told me.‘Still Positive’ Shows Why ‘Homeland’ Hasn’t Jumped the Shark (Yet)
November 4, 2013
I think we were smarting a bit at the criticism ... We knew we had to plot a new course for the show.‘Homeland’ Showrunner: ‘We Knew We Had to Plot a New Course’
September 30, 2013
Romney is smarting from attacks over his time as the head of Bain Capital, the Boston private-equity firm he founded.To Romney, Detractors Suffer From Envy
January 13, 2012
His hand was smarting as though struck with the lash of a whip.Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates
For a quarter of an hour he thus kept her smarting and trembling.The Fortune of the Rougons
For Audrey, smarting from Wyndham's insult, it was the flick of the lash in her face.Audrey Craven
They cannot move their dead cats while smarting 'neath the cruel English yoke.Ireland as It Is
Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)
"No, Sir," said Grenfell, smarting under the sting of what he felt to be an insult.Luttrell Of Arran
Charles James Lever
- astute, as in business; clever or bright
- quick, witty, and often impertinent in speecha smart talker
- fashionable; chica smart hotel
- well-kept; neat
- causing a sharp stinging pain
- vigorous or brisk
- dialect considerable or numerousa smart price
- (of systems) operating as if by human intelligence by using automatic computer control
- (of a projectile or bomb) containing a device that allows it to be guided to its target
- to feel, cause, or be the source of a sharp stinging physical pain or keen mental distressa nettle sting smarts; he smarted under their abuse
- (often foll by for) to suffer a harsh penalty
- a stinging pain or feeling
- in a smart manner
- Christopher. 1722–71, British poet, author of A Song to David (1763) and Jubilate Agno (written 1758–63, published 1939). He was confined (1756–63) for religious mania and died in a debtors' prison
Word Origin and History for smarting
Old English smeortan "be painful," from Proto-Germanic *smarta- (cf. Middle Dutch smerten, Dutch smarten, Old High German smerzan, German schmerzen "to pain," originally "to bite"), from PIE *smerd- "pain," an extension of the root *mer- (2) "to rub; to harm" (cf. Greek smerdnos "terrible, dreadful," Sanskrit mardayati "grinds, rubs, crushes," Latin mordere "to bite"). Related: Smarted; smarting.
late Old English smeart "painful, severe, stinging; causing a sharp pain," related to smeortan (see smart (v.)). Meaning "executed with force and vigor" is from c.1300. Meaning "quick, active, clever" is attested from c.1300, from the notion of "cutting" wit, words, etc., or else "keen in bargaining." Meaning "trim in attire" first attested 1718, "ascending from the kitchen to the drawing-room c.1880" [Weekley]. For sense evolution, cf. sharp (adj.).
In reference to devices, the sense of "behaving as though guided by intelligence" (e.g. smart bomb) first attested 1972. Smarts "good sense, intelligence," is first recorded 1968. Smart cookie is from 1948.
"sharp pain," c.1200, from sharp (adj.). Cf. cognate Middle Dutch smerte, Dutch smart, Old High German smerzo, German Schmerz "pain."