Use the adjective "wise" to describe a person who has gained knowledge about the world through experience. The word "wise" is different from the word "smart," however, the two words might be used similarly.

  • He was wise not to do that. (He was smart not to do that.)
  • A wise old man gave me some very good advice.
  • Valentina was wise to invest her money in that company 20 years ago. Now she’s rich.
  • You should try to make wise choices when buying food.
  • Eating asparagus instead of greasy french fries is a wise choice.
  • He’s not too wise.
  • That’s not a very wise thing to do.
  • That’s not very wise.
  • If you were wise, you’d stay in college and not drop out.

This word may be used with sarcasm. (The intended meaning by the speaker is the opposite of "wise.")

  • Oh, that was wise.
  • Wise move.
  • Okay, wise guy. What’s your idea if you don’t like mine?

The word "wise" is often found in colloquial speech:

  • Stop being such a wise guy. (Stop being a jerk or stop making critical comments.)
  • The students were making wise cracks behind the teacher’s back. (wise crack = joke)
  • Stop making wise cracks.

The word "wisely" is an adverb:

  • We wisely avoided the crowds by shopping early.
  • She invests her money wisely.

As a noun, this word becomes "wisdom."

  • Wisdom is gained though experience.
  • Her wisdom on this subject is greatly respected.
  • Owls are associated with wisdom.

owl owl

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This page was first published on April 23, 2014.