Definition of wise in US English:



  • 1Having or showing experience, knowledge, and good judgment.

    ‘she seems kind and wise’
    ‘a wise precaution’
    • ‘His eyes were gray, and piercing, and were perceived as wise, and experienced.’
    • ‘I know because I was 18 and keeping a diary of my experiences, wise thoughts and bad poetry.’
    • ‘Half of them did not have enough data about side effects to allow people to make wise decisions if they experience one.’
    • ‘The dive boat had a recompression chamber on board, too, which I thought might be a wise precaution!’
    • ‘I think they are very wise in regards to experience with our intelligence.’
    • ‘Not all of them were as experienced or as wise as they made themselves out to be, but it was a learning experience, certainly.’
    • ‘But, although we undoubtedly assume that one becomes wise through experiences of life and death, this process is not a matter of course.’
    • ‘With that experience under her belt, she should be wise enough to do herself full justice tomorrow.’
    • ‘An increasing number of wise consumers are shunning the shop-rage experience for a simpler, calmer and efficient alternative.’
    • ‘Allow some leeway on return times since trips often take longer than expected, but having someone ready to call for help if your group is overdue is a wise precaution.’
    • ‘She was so worldly and wise, and experienced in the world of theater and beyond, and in the short time I'd known her, she sort of took me under her wing as a mother would.’
    • ‘It was one of the few things we could really get deep about and I loved to hear his wise and experienced opinion on the subject.’
    • ‘Both are now doing the tour of duty around company boardrooms as non-executive directors, lending a bit of experience here and a wise word there.’
    • ‘Howard is old, boring and stuffy… or wise, experienced and reliable, depending on your viewpoint.’
    • ‘It's wise to begin experimenting early with these different preventive techniques.’
    • ‘David agreed to be interviewed by Ron and was delighted to listen to the wise words of someone with so much experience in the game.’
    • ‘Some of the more advanced moves take longer to master, but this was a wise design decision since it rewards more experienced players.’
    • ‘There, with a bit of good advice and wise judgement, you'll eat some of the most fascinating and memorable food you could ever hope to experience at a fraction of the price.’
    • ‘This is a wise precaution before trying anything you feel uncomfortable with.’
    • ‘It would not be wise to reveal his knowledge to these people.’
    sage, sagacious, intelligent, clever, learned, showing great knowledge, with great knowledge, knowledgeable, informed, enlightened
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Responding sensibly or shrewdly to a particular situation.
      ‘it would be wise to discuss the matter with the chairman of the committee’
      • ‘This is both constitutionally mandated and politically wise.’
      • ‘Even if you can't meet the target the World Health Organisation recommends - five servings of fruit and vegetables a day - moving in that direction is a wise strategy.’
      • ‘It was a wise concession to Russian sensibilities.’
      • ‘He's a wise sage, a joker, a politico, an eccentric artist, a culture buff and a visionary rolled into one.’
      • ‘Other times, she was calmer and seemed almost wise, sensible, and compassionate to their plight.’
      • ‘Given his overwhelming majority, this is a wise and sensible move designed to promote unity.’
      • ‘In a dangerous world, wise leadership requires a prudent anticipation of untoward events and preparations to prevent them or mitigate their effects.’
      • ‘Bruce has often sounded astute before, but rarely has he sounded so wise.’
      • ‘Seriously, this is really more character assassination and it's disturbing to see wise and intelligent people discussing this in these terms.’
      • ‘He added: ‘There are times when a prudent silence is wise.’’
      • ‘Through sensible saving and wise investment choices, I have some money that I'll be willing to advance you in the form of plane tickets.’
      • ‘If that does not indicate wise and sensible stewardship, I do not know what does.’
      • ‘We have to do this in a very smart, wise, sensible way.’
      • ‘This is a wise and prudent course, but it will be politically difficult to achieve.’
      • ‘That's a wise tactic for a politician who's likely to set his sights on another public job.’
      • ‘They had to be as tough as nails to get that job done, as well as wise and prudent - if not downright practical.’
      • ‘A wise teacher was discussing life with a young student one day.’
      • ‘They say you're not supposed to say it, it's not politically wise.’
      • ‘A compassionate, wise, sensible man who always craves another adventure.’
      • ‘Still, its ideal is a judicial system which dispenses objective, appropriate, rational, and wise justice.’
    2. 1.2predicative Having knowledge in a specified subject.
      ‘families wise in the way of hurricane survival’
      • ‘Don't be in a hurry in purchasing replacement parts, be wise in choosing the parts you are going to use in your Ford car or truck.’
      • ‘A man who was wise in policy, valiant in action and distinctive in leadership.’
      • ‘They are a genuinely friendly people, full of interest in the outside world and consummately wise in the ways of the desert.’
      • ‘Is pine conversion economically wise in the long run - the real long run?’
      • ‘My friend had worked in ‘the Industry’ and was wise in the ways of Hollywood.’
      • ‘Also, some missionaries have not always been wise in their methods, even inducing people to come to church for needed material help.’
      • ‘As manufacturers know all too well, gun magazine editors are wise in all things concerning how to make guns - they always have lots of suggestions.’
      • ‘We also have to be wise in where we choose to attack.’
      • ‘May they be wise in the paths they choose to follow.’
      • ‘However, I fear these men are too wise in the ways of War to permit that.’
      • ‘My mother told me my grandmother was wise in ways lots of so-called educated people were not.’
      • ‘You know that we are weak, but you are wise in seeing our strengths.’
      • ‘She was wise in some ways, foolish in others, strong and yet weak, stubborn and yet compliant.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, though he was wise in certain matters, he seemed to blind to other matters.’
      • ‘Pro football fans evidently are wise in their television-viewing ways.’
      • ‘He had been wise in his career choices, guided by his sprawling but close-knit family and his pugnacious agent.’
      • ‘Its theme is expectation, and it shows an artist infinitely wise in the ways of horses.’
      • ‘Now, it may not be always the case that a commander in chief has served or that it was necessary that they served to be wise in the deployment of the military.’
      • ‘Be wise in your handling of this precious knowledge; its secrecy is imperative.’
      • ‘A feudal prince must be wise in controlling the nobles and keeping the people content.’
    3. 1.3wise toinformal predicative Alert to or aware of.
      ‘fortunately I was already wise to the approach used in this scam’
      • ‘Burglars rarely took stolen gear back to their homes, were wise to police interviewing techniques and rarely left evidence at the scene of their crimes, Mr Blowers said.’
      • ‘On April 10, the forestry police finally became wise to the situation and raided the restaurant, arresting the owner and 20 employees.’
      aware of, familiar with, acquainted with, cognizant of
      View synonyms


  • be wise after the event

    • Understand and assess an event or situation only after its implications have become obvious.

      • ‘While it would be easy to be wise after the event, Simon was never a player that any of us would have picked out as a future star, as a player who would go all the way to the top.’
      • ‘It is not being wise after the event to say Northampton's decline was predictable.’
      • ‘It is easy to be wise after the event and almost impossible before it’
      • ‘It is so easy to be wise after the event and to condemn as negligence that which was only a misadventure.’
      • ‘Reflecting on the time of my involvement there were some key decisions on player contracts in 1999 that we know now were mistakes, but it's easy to be wise after the event.’
  • be none (or not any) the wiser

    • Know no more than before.

      • ‘It was closed, though, so we're still none the wiser.’
      • ‘Both airlines could have simply increased their prices by $6, and most customers would be none the wiser.’
      • ‘The whole issue gets me totally annoyed and I'm still none the wiser as to what value we get from paying them at all.’
      • ‘At the end of his frustrating book, I was left none the wiser.’
      • ‘If I want to ruin the reputation of a B-list celeb I could so with in a couple of days, and their PR agency would be none the wiser until the stories started appearing.’
  • get wise

    • Become alert or aware.

      ‘the birds get wise and figure out it's just noise’
      • ‘Following yet another arrest, the authorities got wise to his true identity and fugitive status.’
      • ‘How many times do big chunks of these pay days get passed on to other operators and organizations without the operators and organizations getting wise to the game?’
      • ‘I was only certain of one thing: I got wise because I outlived my earlier mistakes.’
      • ‘Move it around every day or two, so the birds don't get wise.’
      • ‘American buyers are getting wise to the fact that they're overpriced, oversized, overly thirsty and over the bumper of other innocent vehicles in an accident.’


Old English wīs, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch wijs and German weise, also to wit.