- having the power of discerning and judging properly as to what is true or right; possessing discernment, judgment, or discretion.
- characterized by or showing such power; judicious or prudent: a wise decision.
- possessed of or characterized by scholarly knowledge or learning; learned; erudite: wise in the law.
- having knowledge or information as to facts, circumstances, etc.: We are wiser for their explanations.
- Slang. informed; in the know: You're wise, so why not give us the low-down?
- Archaic. having knowledge of magic or witchcraft.
- Slang. to make wise or aware: I'll wise you, kid.
- 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.
- be/get wise to, Slang. to be or become cognizant of or no longer deceived by; catch on: to get wise to a fraud.
- get wise, Slang.
- to become informed.
- to be or become presumptuous or impertinent: Don't get wise with me, young man!
- 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.
Origin of wise1
SynonymsSee more synonyms for wise on Thesaurus.com
- way of proceeding or considering; manner; fashion (usually used in combination or in certain phrases): otherwise; in any wise; in no wise.
Origin of wise2
- Chiefly Scot.
- to instruct.
- to induce or advise.
- to show the way to; guide.
- Scot. to direct the course of; cause to turn.
Origin of wise3
- Isaac May·er [mahy-er] /ˈmaɪ ər/, 1819–1900, U.S. rabbi and educator, born in Bohemia: founder of Reform Judaism in the U.S.
- Stephen Samuel,1874–1949, U.S. rabbi, theologian, and Zionist leader; born in Hungary.
- a suffixal use of wise2 in adverbs denoting manner, position, direction, reference, etc.: counterclockwise; edgewise; marketwise; timewise.
Examples from the Web for wise
This is the Mexico that U.S. college students would be wise to steer clear of on spring break.Why Mexicans Are Enraged by Obama’s Big Tuesday Meeting
Ruben Navarrette Jr.
January 6, 2015
But how can parents be approachable and wise so their children feel comfortable speaking to them?A Rallying Cry Against the Oversexualization of Our Youth
November 30, 2014
Was it wise for the US to leave Iraq without even a residual force in place?Want President Hillary? Then Primary Her
November 24, 2014
The West would be wise to think of Putin as the devil it knows.Think Putin’s Bad? Wait for the Next Guy
November 14, 2014
If only he could be more like the peaceful and wise Starfleet commander in real life….Beijing’s ‘Star Trek’ APEC Summit
November 11, 2014
But how could you be a wise master without learning the craft?
Peart and cunnin', but a heap too wise fur you, son; take my steer on that.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
His aunt, the Duchess of Savoy, is a merry dame, and a wise!
Solomon, the Wise, decided to provide them with a magnificent home.Ancient Man
Hendrik Willem van Loon
Wise counsels, like those which gave us the Constitution, prevailed to uphold it.
- possessing, showing, or prompted by wisdom or discernment
- prudent; sensible
- shrewd; craftya wise plan
- well-informed; erudite
- aware, informed, or knowing (esp in the phrase none the wiser)
- slang (postpositive often foll by to) in the know, esp possessing inside information (about)
- archaic possessing powers of magic
- slang, mainly US and Canadian cocksure or insolent
- 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)
- put wise (often foll by to) slang to inform or warn (of)
- See wise up
- archaic way, manner, fashion, or respect (esp in the phrases any wise, in no wise)
- Also: -ways indicating direction or mannerclockwise; likewise
- with reference toprofitwise; businesswise
Word Origin and History for wise
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.
"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."
Idioms and Phrases with wise
In addition to the idioms beginning with wise
- wise guy
- wise up to
- get wise to
- none the wiser
- penny wise and pound foolish
- put wise
- sadder but wiser
- word to the wise