Definition of smart in US English:



  • 1informal Having or showing a quick-witted intelligence.

    ‘if he was that smart he would never have been tricked’
    • ‘If the newspaper publisher is smart, then the intelligent design ought to be continuously updated.’
    • ‘My little brother Zack is smart, but not geeky smart, he's intelligent.’
    • ‘On top of that, he was grace with a very smart, intelligent, warm, caring, friendly brain.’
    • ‘He's really, really smart - intellectually curious, thoughtful, creative, you name it.’
    • ‘Once in a while, I get mail which makes me feel that the world is a very beautiful place full of smart intellectual beings.’
    • ‘I would just like to say that I think Owen's a very smart and intelligent kind of gentleman.’
    • ‘The sad part is that the present head and deputy head of the nation are by far the most intelligent and smart pair of leaders we have had for a long period of time.’
    • ‘I found Jason to be very smart and quick-witted.’
    • ‘To execute our repertoire, dancers have to be more than good, smart, intelligent movers.’
    • ‘They equate winning with intellect, rich with smart.’
    • ‘Now she's always been known to be intellectually smart, but that question was really stupid and ignorant!’
    • ‘This year smart hearts and intelligent emotions are essential survival tools.’
    • ‘A very smart and quick-witted comic, Wuhl always has tons of energy that holds the film together and keeps it moving.’
    • ‘Shelly was smart, intellectual, and quiet while Kenny, her total opposite, was loud, ridiculous, and hilarious.’
    • ‘I like being the smart, intelligent career woman who is respected by her peers.’
    • ‘Brilliant cop, very smart and intuitive, but at the same time he was a people's man.’
    • ‘He lists his ideal mate as needing to be smart, intelligent, possessing a sense of humour and a well toned body.’
    • ‘He always seemed to be the first to get his reply in, quick-witted and clearly smart.’
    • ‘You were beautiful, intelligent, smart, sensitive, and a real friend!’
    • ‘It's one thing to be smart and quick-witted, but can you back it up?’
    clever, bright, intelligent, sharp, sharp-witted, quick-witted, nimble-witted, shrewd, astute, acute, apt, able
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    1. 1.1 (of a device) programmed so as to be capable of some independent action.
      ‘hi-tech smart weapons’
      • ‘Sales of film dropped 15 percent from last year because cameras have become smart devices.’
      • ‘Their suit accused gun makers of ignoring safety devices and smart gun technology that would prevent unauthorized shooters like Myles' killer.’
      • ‘We know what's going on better than our enemies because of smart weapons and sensors.’
      • ‘No, these are not science fiction, they're just some of the smart devices heading our way.’
      • ‘When the personal computer was introduced 20 years ago, few people foresaw the widespread proliferation of smart devices.’
      • ‘It's a pathetically old technology, especially for an industry that prides itself on such ostensibly smart devices, and it has to go.’
      • ‘So part of the electromagnetic spectrum could be opened up to anyone who uses smart devices.’
      • ‘‘Modern alarm devices are so smart, they can even tell when they need to be cleaned,’ he continues.’
      • ‘The third smart gun safety mechanism postulated is magnetic technology.’
      • ‘Just like in all the science fiction scenarios in which the machines take over and do all sort sorts of nasty things, a truly smart machine will be capable of being a truly evil machine.’
      • ‘Like many smart devices, my phone has an alarm to tell me when the battery is low.’
      • ‘Embedded devices add levels of intelligence to their hosting computer or smart device, and are a common technology on telecom and data networks.’
      • ‘The joke about a surgical strike with a smart missile has been around since the first Gulf war.’
      • ‘The camera is smart enough to sense whether a picture is taken in a portrait or landscape orientation, and compensate with White Balance and other effects based on the orientation.’
      • ‘But I do believe that the clock could be an essential part of a smart device's tech nonetheless.’
      • ‘An exhaustive work on the subject of using Linux in embedded systems and smart devices certainly could occupy a lot more pages.’
      • ‘For the moment, let's ignore three questions: Are we smart enough to program smart appliances?’
      • ‘Alexa is a smart computer system capable of hearing and responding to the human voice.’
      • ‘Other advantages of smart devices include power consumption monitoring and reporting.’
      • ‘They can be combined with each other and with other applications and smart devices.’
    2. 1.2North American Showing impertinence by making clever or sarcastic remarks.
      ‘don't get smart or I'll whack you one’
      • ‘Besides the smart gestures and disturbing remarks, no.’
      • ‘This was greeted with laughter and smart remarks from the crowd.’
      • ‘Someone in the crowd murmured a smart remark that caused a group of girls to erupt into a fit of laughter.’
      • ‘And as the siren dies away the sergeant tries his smart remark.’
      • ‘Out here in DeKalb we're tv talkers anyway, always talking back, full of smart remarks.’
      • ‘This opened the door for me to make a smart remark, and I did.’
      • ‘He had noticed that girl for quite some time; she was sarcastic, smart but had a terrible attitude.’
      • ‘She knew her friend and knew she was good at making men angry with her bitter tone and smart remarks.’
      • ‘You can be sure that some smart remarks were made about him, because he was a senior tax-collector and a wealthy man.’
      • ‘By that time Paige would have made a smart remark to him about table manners, but instead said nothing and kept her eyes away from his.’
      • ‘Surprised at the childish attitude, they were about to snort, when his smart remark caught them off guard.’
      • ‘I was still feeling grossed out, and the real smart remark was with full sarcasm.’
      • ‘In other words, she had a smart remark ready the minute he stepped out of the lift.’
      • ‘Before Damian could answer with a smart remark the Doctor stepped in with forced cheerfulness.’
      • ‘Everything is smart and sarcastic and divisive and nasty and cutesy.’
      • ‘But hey, I wasn't about to make a smart remark on women; I always lose.’
      • ‘Howard restrained himself from commenting on that piece of advice, having found that his smart remarks were obviously not appreciated here.’
      • ‘Although Freyen was more of a laid-back character, Marlo completed the duo with his smart remarks and sarcastic jokes.’
      • ‘Then, we'd probably make a smart remark about his daughter's driving skills.’
      • ‘Suddenly, my cell phone rang, stopping me from making a smart remark.’
  • 2(of a person) clean, neat, and well dressed.

    ‘you look very smart’
    • ‘The man is described as being of smart appearance, 5ft 11 in, of slim to medium build, with short, brown hair brushed forward.’
    • ‘Spit and polish did more than produce a smart appearance: it helped inculcate a corporate spirit.’
    • ‘Charlotte de Rosnay - who lived near Miss Dando - said the man's overall appearance was smart.’
    • ‘And being on time, having a positive outlook and a smart appearance help to make a good first impression.’
    • ‘I had learned his smart appearance was not simply a façade.’
    • ‘A very smart bunch who appeared to take great delight in posing and trotting about the place.’
    • ‘But the burglars have often been described as in their late teens or early 20s, of smart appearance and well spoken with a local accent.’
    • ‘They considered themselves to be smart and fashionable.’
    • ‘He was making sure that if all else failed he would be smart in appearance with a pair of black polished shoes.’
    • ‘He was an octogenarian with a smart appearance, an upright stance, and a military looking moustache.’
    • ‘But this man was the real thing: well-spoken, briefcase, smart dresser.’
    • ‘Its not all about smart suited execs, bright young techies, missions statements and working breakfasts with the international blogerati in Kensington.’
    well dressed, well turned out, fashionably dressed, fashionable, stylish, chic, modish, elegant, neat, besuited, spruce, trim, dapper, debonair
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    1. 2.1 (of clothes) attractively neat and stylish.
      ‘a smart blue skirt’
      • ‘Many found ways of enriching themselves, parading themselves in their own vehicles and parading their wives in smart clothes, who in turn paraded their poodles or other treasures.’
      • ‘He said typical bogus callers were aged 25 to 40, could be male or female, wore a uniform, overalls, a yellow reflective jacket or smart clothes.’
      • ‘The female who turns up wearing neat, smart clothing with well-groomed hair, fingernails and make-up?’
      • ‘Their lovely home and Florence's smart clothes might be showing you the benefits of paying attention to this quality in yourself now.’
      • ‘There came to the door, very late one evening a very shy, middle-aged man, very neat, smart suit, shirt and tie - he had just been thrown out of the family home where enough had been enough.’
      • ‘The girls in evening dresses looked glamorous and the men wore smart clothes with a cutting edge.’
      • ‘His wife may not match the famous predecessor, the fashion conscious Raisa Gorbachev who was in a class by herself, but she wears smart clothes and carries herself with dignity.’
      • ‘Attractive women in smart hats are not uncommon in Harrogate, but one has been singled out for special attention.’
      • ‘Phillips dressed in smart clothes and passed himself off as an club official: perhaps it's time to introduce dress-down Saturdays for our bufties, to prevent any repeat.’
      • ‘In smart suit, immaculate blue shirt and plainish tie, Kinski attempts to demystify the complexities of the post-privatisation utility businesses.’
      • ‘Bacon's not-quite-leading-male good looks are complemented with nondescript, reasonably smart clothes and a neat haircut.’
      • ‘I probably just about have enough t-shirts, shorts and the like but I need warm weather smart clothes.’
      • ‘‘Nice outfit,’ Paul said, dressed in an equally smart suit in comparison to the scruffy clothes Kenny and Matt had thrown on.’
      • ‘Six months ago I put on a shirt and tie, smart trousers and shoes and I was best man at his wedding when he remarried his ex-wife.’
      • ‘During the summer, drivers can wear a plain blue or white polo shirt and smart trousers and shoes, but not shorts or trainers.’
      • ‘His smart suit, beautifully groomed long hair and supreme confidence symbolized the vital reclamation of a lost life.’
      • ‘I guess I have to wear smart clothes, either way.’
      • ‘Now I want to just think and write something in my head but now we have commitments, actions requiring smart clothes and small-talk.’
      • ‘I looked up to find her holding a pair of pale blue jeans and a smart button down top.’
      • ‘I'm old-fashioned about ‘going to the bank’, clinging to the feeling that it's a posh outing, needing smart clothes.’
      well dressed, well turned out, fashionably dressed, fashionable, stylish, chic, modish, elegant, neat, besuited, spruce, trim, dapper, debonair
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    2. 2.2 (of a thing) bright and fresh in appearance.
      ‘a smart green van’
      • ‘So, slowly but surely, the Metrobus blue-and-yellow is dying out, and that horrible green Arriva thing will be replaced by a smart red.’
      • ‘The new car has the appeal of fresh looks and a smart interior.’
      • ‘The bridge has survived flooding, and was repainted in smart Kendal green in the year 2000.’
      • ‘John Lewis has a good selection of styles in basic colours, as well as red, smart sagey greens, all shades of brown and even a wacky violet.’
      • ‘The local pub has just won Fuller's Pub of the Year competition, for the quality of its ales, smart appearance, ambient atmosphere and good food.’
      • ‘That summer, we visited Spain in a rather smart Volkswagen camper van I had bought with a small bequest from my Aunt Helen, thought Salamanca was heaven on earth and decided to live there.’
      • ‘The smallish dining room is smart and comfortable, and the service has personality, wit, and a refreshingly unforced charm.’
      • ‘He drove off in his smart van leaving me in a state of unease.’
      • ‘Far from looking dull, the black and white combinations are sharp and smart and exude timeless elegance.’
      • ‘But there is much more to it than a lovely fresh ringtone or smart wallpaper.’
      • ‘Nice, rich Jewish boy, smart house, no need for the bright, questioning girl to consider a career.’
      • ‘It is a smart green coloured train with Urdu lettering.’
      • ‘Feathering should be trimmed every few months, both to give the dog a smart appearance and to repel the grime that seems to accumulate there.’
      • ‘Near the Serpentine, he became aware of a smart green and yellow phaeton stopped ahead of him.’
      • ‘The racecourse's smart, modern appearance, location in the middle of the Downs and the glamour associated with horse racing are thought to be the main attractions.’
      • ‘The mere fact that polish is applied to boots and shoes for the purpose of cleaning them and giving them a smart appearance seems to me to be quite irrelevant in this connection.’
      • ‘It was July 1959 when David's smart, green Daimler bus was crossing through traffic lights at Heaton Park's Grand Lodge.’
    3. 2.3 (of a person or place) fashionable and upscale.
      ‘a smart restaurant’
      • ‘Interior of a smart City office, with an elderly businessman sitting at a large oak desk.’
      • ‘The daughters of an insurance investigator, they lived in a smart area close to the cathedral.’
      • ‘Born in 1913 into a family of means and international connections, Helms grew up in smart suburbs of Philadelphia and New York.’
      • ‘Residents living in a smart area of Salisbury are preparing to do battle a second time to save two large detached family homes which are under threat of demolition.’
      • ‘When built at the turn of the last century this was in a smart district of the city, but decay has set in.’
      • ‘Our weekend cottage is situated in a quiet but rather smart village in the Derbyshire Peak District, somewhere between Ashbourne, Bakewell and Buxton.’
      • ‘This is a very nice and smart area of central Tokyo, rather like Knightsbridge: a wide leafy boulevard with lots of side streets and fashionable places to shop.’
      • ‘You can have lots of ugly old photo frames, with masses of pics of yourself in smart places or with famous people.’
      • ‘The menu is Scottish with French influences, while the decor and atmosphere are smart without being stuffy.’
      • ‘Ayrshire - the birthplace of our national bard and producer of possibly the best bacon in Scotland - is coming into its own as a startlingly smart place to live.’
      • ‘After about half an hour tailing my taxi, we arrive in a smart area on the outskirts of Rhodes town itself, where modern hotels stand shoulder-to-shoulder facing a small but pleasant beach.’
      • ‘Dates with the girls took place in smart locations like Mediterranean resorts and even on a luxury yacht off the Côte D' Azur.’
      • ‘The family moved to their present home in a smart district on the edge of the town about two-and-a-half years ago.’
      • ‘Pulling out of Queen's Park, heading towards Maida Vale through the smart terraces, it was all very nice, until at the Harrow Road a big gang of bus enthusiasts came on.’
      • ‘Shocked residents have told of the mayhem brought to their smart suburb after a man was found shot dead.’
      • ‘I have been to a very smart place called Century on Shaftesbury Ave.’
      • ‘Only a mile east of Glasgow's smart city centre streets, this - the third most deprived council ward in Scotland - might as well be on a different planet.’
      • ‘In 1982, he was a long way from Angola and his bush fighters, in a smart suburb of Rabat in Morocco.’
      • ‘The style of the gate should match the house: a wicket gate would look out of place in a smart city setting, whereas antique wrought iron might lead to expectations that a cottage garden fails to meet.’
      • ‘The man now regarded as one of the prime suspects in the alleged air terror plot moved into a smart area of Bahawalpur, in southern Punjab, just three months ago.’
      fashionable, stylish, high-class, exclusive, chic, fancy
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  • 3Quick; brisk.

    ‘I gave him a smart salute’
    • ‘In the first place, we must accept that the purely biographical narratives are compressed accounts: they are stories, and they are stories which march at a smart pace.’
    • ‘Now that he has got his head in front, further successes may well follow and Richard Fahey's smart gelding is expected to complete a quick double.’
    • ‘They were wondering why the PM shut the MP up quick smart when he said something similar to what they're thinking.’
    • ‘We galloped out of Vals at a smart pace and made the 124 Km quite easily in the prescribed 2 1/2 hours.’
    • ‘We reckon that the royal family should snap up some of the domain names quick smart.’
    brisk, quick, fast, rapid, swift, lively, spanking, energetic, spirited, vigorous, jaunty
    sharp, severe, forceful, violent
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    1. 3.1 Painfully severe.
      ‘a dog that snaps is given a smart blow’


[no object]
  • 1(of a wound or part of the body) cause a sharp, stinging pain.

    ‘the wound was smarting’
    • ‘The light scent didn't smart or sting and was, as he put it ‘redolent of old money!’’
    • ‘Tamara, still smarting with pain, just cried as Penelope walked out of the house in jealous rage and did not return.’
    • ‘At any rate, here you are, sitting in your room, wounds smarting from the rejection.’
    • ‘He rubbed his elbow, which smarted from breaking his fall.’
    • ‘Though the hot wax smarted, it didn't hurt as bad as Randy would have thought.’
    • ‘Makes the skin of your face tingle and smart like it's been slapped.’
    • ‘My knees ached from sitting and my eyes smarted from staring at the screen.’
    • ‘My tootsies are smarting like you wouldn't believe.’
    • ‘While still smarting from the body blows, Mnisi appeared to be cautious while Dintsi suddenly burst into action with his jab and controlling the round.’
    • ‘Her eyes actually smarted with pain as she looked at it and Jade realized she had not felt the sun on her back for at least three days.’
    • ‘My eyes are more than prickling now, they're smarting, and tears are rolling down my cheeks.’
    • ‘Wexford come to the field still smarting from the deep scratches inflicted by the Cats.’
    • ‘Okay, maybe this doesn't qualify as a safety hazard, but darnit it smarts when it gets into your eyes.’
    • ‘A nervous-looking soldier had given her the wound, and she smarted at the pain it was causing her.’
    sting, burn, tingle, prickle
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    1. 1.1 Feel upset and annoyed.
      ‘chiefs of staff are still smarting from the government's cuts’
      • ‘Reed is still smarting with his side's defence after they conceded four goals in the first 20 minutes of their 5-1 FA Cup first round defeat at Farnborough.’
      • ‘Even the action groups, who are still smarting from failing to win a single board seat and Treves's dogged refusal to co-opt any of them on to the board, wholeheartedly support his chairmanship.’
      • ‘The Audit Commission has extended an olive branch to the Council chiefs who are still smarting after the authority was branded ‘weak.’’
      • ‘Campaigners still smarting from ‘the bruises’ of wrangles with education officials four years ago advised parents of children who have been declined places from their primary school.’
      • ‘Ireland are certain to be given a robust challenge by a team still smarting from the disappointment of conceding three goals to Netherlands in the last seven minutes of their tie on Saturday.’
      • ‘When he went to register the theft, four other tourists were already in line ahead of him, smarting over similar humiliation.’
      • ‘Still smarting from the terrible interruption to their plans by those cunning security measures in airports - what wily geniuses the enemy are to have thought of making the check-in staff ask such questions!’
      • ‘This was on top of the fact that at that time he was smarting from various other frustrations with Singapore and perhaps some of the other ASEAN members.’
      • ‘He is still clearly smarting from the wounds from this film.’
      • ‘In 1996, Kentucky was smarting from the sting of its regional final collapse against North Carolina the previous season.’
      • ‘Clarets chief Cotterill was smarting after seeing referee Colin Webster ignore his side's appeals for two late spot kicks after Ian Moore had already missed a late penalty.’
      • ‘When she's being patient and honest, you want to cheer; when she says she's been hurt, it smarts.’
      • ‘Shelbourne were still smarting from a penalty decision that went against them within fifteen seconds of the start of the second half and trailed 1-2 at the time.’
      • ‘Chen's removal, under such circumstances, would amount to a kind of legalized coup by the Kuomintang, which is still smarting from its historic loss of the presidency in the March election.’
      • ‘Residents in Croydon, still smarting from a 27 per cent increase in this year's council tax, say an extra £20 a year until the 2012 games takes the biscuit.’
      • ‘And he expressed no fear about going up against a Democratic opposition, still smarting from election losses and gearing up to fight him every step of the way.’
      • ‘I was smarting from the realisation that nothing was every going to happen between me and my friend, and I couldn't focus enough to be involved with someone else, even someone as kind as the waiter.’
      • ‘For the Democrats, still smarting from the self-inflicted wounds of Al Gore?’
      • ‘Second-rower Nathan Sharpe, smarting from the Wellington defeat when he was captain, had a stormer but, worryingly, finished the game with a shoulder injury.’
      • ‘It was salt in the wounds of a Fianna Fáil party smarting from a grass roots rebellion in the European and local elections.’
      feel annoyed, feel upset, feel offended, take offence, feel aggrieved, feel indignant, feel put out, feel hurt, feel wounded, feel resentful
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  • 1smartsNorth American informal Intelligence; acumen.

    ‘I don't think I have the smarts for it’
    • ‘Go for a guy with the qualities that get you going: smarts, sense of humor, generous spirit.’
    • ‘People don't see them as lacking in smarts, wit or attractiveness but as haughty and detached.’
    • ‘He has great vision and tremendous smarts in terms of knowing when to fair catch a ball and when to let it bounce.’
    • ‘I hope someone with anything like his smarts, insight and writing ability can take over that role, but that's asking a lot.’
    • ‘It's intellectual property, smarts, and service that are our ‘products.’’
    • ‘If evolution now turns its invisible hand to growing machine intelligence, it seems unlikely that something resembling human smarts will emerge, no matter how much we rig the system.’
    • ‘Realize and seek out the truth that while there may indeed be gradients of intelligence, that intelligence and smarts come in many, many forms and applications.’
    • ‘I am not entirely comfortable with the implication that feeling like a fraud or an imposter with regards to intelligence or smarts or academic achievement is something that is unique to women or more prevalent in women.’
    • ‘It just went to show that intellectual heavies could be beautiful in spite of all those smarts.’
    • ‘His smarts, strength, resourcefulness, and ability to perform while hurting are exemplary.’
    • ‘Sensing his political smarts, his peers in the Republican Class of '96 selected him as their liaison to the party leadership.’
    • ‘My little sister is one smart cookie - you don't get to be a PhD chemist otherwise. For all her smarts, though, she's not big on bicycle maintenance.’
    • ‘Spirituality is an extra that's added on to a secular base of economic savvy, career know-how, and social smarts.’
    • ‘Somebody must believe they have the smarts and resourcefulness to play in a pinch without the benefit of endless preparation.’
    • ‘It has the reeled-in pyrotechnics and the muted pacing of an intelligent spy film, but it doesn't have the smarts of one, and instead opts for a clichéd scenario and cast of characters.’
    • ‘I've got smarts, wit, style, self-esteem, friends, career, interests - everything except… a date!’
    • ‘Nikki was intelligent while Jack had a different type of smarts.’
    • ‘Human intuition and human smarts are far better defense mechanisms than any particular technology supplies.’
    • ‘He's a very intelligent football player, has the savvy and smarts.’
    astuteness, awareness, shrewdness, acuity, sharpness, sharp-wittedness, cleverness, brightness, smartness
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  • 2Sharp stinging pain.

    ‘the smart of the recent blood-raw cuts’
    1. 2.1archaic Mental pain or suffering.
      ‘sorrow is the effect of smart, and smart the effect of faith’


  • In a quick or brisk manner.

    ‘it is better for tenants to be compelled to pay up smart’


  • (as) smart as a whip

    • informal Very quick-witted and intelligent.

      ‘despite some of the things he says, he's smart as a whip’
      • ‘We've had newspaper guys, previously steely eyed and smart as a whip, turn to jelly at the mere prospect of a dip in his pool.’
      • ‘She was smart as a whip, but never got a chance to go to college.’
      • ‘Now you're equipped with hints that will make you look smart as a whip in class.’
      • ‘He was smart as a whip, fast witted, and had a sense of humor and adventure about him.’
      • ‘He's smart as a whip and wise - you can't beat that combo.’
      • ‘I also remember something else about Todd: he was smart as a whip.’
      • ‘I've known a decent amount of young woman who are like this, creative, smart as a whip, but yet have this peculiar practical side.’
      • ‘He's smart as a whip, so there's nothing he can't learn.’
      • ‘Smart as a whip, he has a real knack for always being in the right place at the right time.’
      • ‘I imagined a pretty daughter who was smart as a whip, who talked to me about school as we walked through the neighborhood arm in arm.’


Old English smeortan (verb), of West Germanic origin; related to German schmerzen; the adjective is related to the verb, the original sense ( late Old English) being ‘causing sharp pain’; from this arose ‘keen, brisk’, whence the current senses of ‘mentally sharp’ and ‘neat in a brisk, sharp style’.