Definition of street-smart in US English:



  • Having the experience and knowledge necessary to deal with the potential difficulties or dangers of life in an urban environment.

    ‘a street-smart hustler on a motorcycle’
    • ‘He waved his hands around in what was supposed to be a very street-smart way.’
    • ‘But sadly, they are not street-smart as those ‘bound coolies’ were.’
    • ‘Imagine if I had been a street-smart black teenager.’
    • ‘Hakman's very street-smart, instinctual, with a total survivor mentality.’
    • ‘The street-smart cop initially wants nothing to do with the ambitious, sophisticated lawyer, but he soon realizes she might be his only chance to save himself.’
    • ‘The street-smart modern piece, performed on pointe, premiered in the company's London season last spring under a different and less-appropriate title.’
    • ‘They gave him everything he had hoped for as a researcher, and more; Hawa was street-smart and well-travelled, and had moved through all sections of society and among all races.’
    • ‘You've got to be a little street-smart to pull it off around here.’
    • ‘He's a sharp guy with a street-smart Brooklyn attitude.’
    • ‘She had gotten the better of the street-smart woman.’
    • ‘The result is an explosive, percussive, street-smart energy that has not been rearranged or finessed through the lens of modern and ballet techniques.’
    • ‘Designers endlessly loot the iconography, innovations and raw materials of military dress to create a new fashion that is robust, functional, provocative and street-smart.’
    • ‘The street-smart kid smiled at me, holding out his hand.’
    • ‘The result is a pared-down, street-smart encounter between African-American cultural forms and the naked truth of love and death that undergirds Shakespeare's plot.’
    • ‘‘The Connection links curious, engaged listeners to street-smart conversation about the events and ideas that challenge the nation and broaden its culture,’ says its blurb.’
    • ‘In the early 1990s, he chiselled out a career by creating street-smart, brooding soundtracks for movies that only existed in his roaming imagination, swiftly becoming critically adored in the process.’
    • ‘During that early time, he had a musical persona that was street-smart swagger mixed with affection for all the losers and down-and-outs.’
    • ‘Through his social network of similarly constricted men of color, he acquires street-smart mobility and can access, for example, beforehand knowledge of a hit on a Filipino family.’
    • ‘I'm all street-smart about it and don't turn my head or respond, but a quick peek reveals that he's not addressing me at all.’
    • ‘Contrary to the impression given by her street-smart ways, she's always been plagued by nerves.’


street smarts
  • The experience and knowledge necessary to deal with the potential difficulties or dangers of life in an urban environment.

    ‘take the advice of somebody who's got a little more street smarts than you’
    • ‘To succeed, New England needs both - well-trained minds and hungry, grasping people whose work ethic and street smarts allow them to produce economic bounty.’
    • ‘Do universities deliver work-ready graduates who combine academic knowledge with the necessary street smarts to make the front page.’
    • ‘He wants better, but knows the most he can rely on is street smarts and skills.’
    • ‘But eventually, like all of Furst's leading men, Szara survives where others have perished, thanks to native intelligence, a nose for danger, and street smarts.’
    • ‘Their only real legacy, as Asbury makes clear, was to pass on their street smarts to a newer type of gangster who, in the 20th century, would turn organized crime into a warped reflection of American free enterprise.’