Meaning of WISE in English


I. ˈwīz noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English, from Old English wīse manner, melody; akin to Old High German wīsa manner, style, tune, Old Norse vīsa stanza, öthru vīs otherwise, Greek eidos appearance, form, kind, idein to see — more at wit

: manner , way

the house differed in no wise from its neighbors — Maurice Samuel

— often used in combination

like wise

other wise

II. adjective

( -er/-est )

Etymology: Middle English wise, wis, wys, from Old English wīs wise, knowing; akin to Old High German wīs wise, Old Norse vīss, Gothic un weis unknowing, Old English witan to know — more at wit



(1) : characterized by wisdom : sage , sagacious

the wise man and teacher of the tribe — Nancy K. Hosking

men may be wise … though their fund of knowledge is small — S.H.Slichter

(2) : all-wise

which the wise powers deny us for our good — Shakespeare


(1) : well informed or instructed : knowledgeable

a portion of reading quite indispensable to a wise man — R.W.Emerson

grew up … wise in plants, wild animals, and the habits of their own goats and sheep — T.E.Lawrence

(2) : showing instinctive wisdom

these dogs are bred … as rugged individuals each wise in his own nose — D.C.Peattie

c. : exercising sound judgment : judicious , prudent

conservation and wise use of resources can make a wealthy people in a lonely land — H.W.Odum

wise handling of a situation

a wise investment

2. archaic : mentally sound : sane


a. : evidencing or hinting at the possession of inside information : knowing

when questioned about the indicent he looked wise but refused to talk

the wise money was ten to one

b. : possessed of inside information : alert

unless they're wise to the slow, steady creep of the tide, they'll be in up to their hubcaps before they realize it — J.W.Noble

able to sneak it in without the MPs getting wise — James Jones

old timers put him wise to the tricks of cardsharpers

c. : shrewdly resourceful : crafty , smart

4. archaic : skilled in magic or divination

5. : insolent , smart-alecky , fresh

a bunch of wise kids throwing snowballs at buses


sage , sapient , judicious , prudent , sensible , sane : wise indicates discernment based not only on factual knowledge but on judgment and insight

wise men … anticipate possible difficulties, and decide beforehand what they will do if occasions arise — J.A.Froude

she was also wise beyond her years, and she knew that when he no longer needed her advice he would dispense with her — Harrison Smith

sage is used interchangeably with wise but may also suggest venerability

the sage enchanter Merlin's subtle schemes — William Wordsworth

her sage plan to make the family feel her worth, and to conquer the members of it one by one — George Meredith

sapient may imply a canny shrewdness rather than profound wisdom

the sapient leader who shall bring order out of the wild misrule — V.L.Parrington

a sapient, instructed, shrewdly ascertaining ignorance — Walter Pater

judicious suggests judgment that is fair, level-headed, sound, and wise

it is not judicious, unbiased, academic; it is passionate, biased and provocative — H.L.Matthews

with judicious officers the most unruly seamen can at sea be kept in some sort of subjection — Herman Melville

prudent suggests exercise of the restraint of sound practical wisdom and discretion to avoid anything rash or ill-advised

too prudent to say or hint anything which could create a suspicion in her colleague's breast — Anthony Trollope

in the pursuit of pleasure, as in the purchase of securities, the prudent Southern gentleman has always preferred safety to hazard — Ellen Glasgow

sensible describes action according to good sense and accustomed rationality

let us, like sensible men, choose the lesser evil — John Strachey

any sensible doctor when stricken by disease distrusts his own introspective diagnosis and calls in a colleague — C.K.Ogden & I.A.Richards

sane , usually contrasted with insane, indicates mental soundness, rationality, and level-headedness without wild quirks or deep derangements

I am no lunatic in a mad fit, but a sane man fighting for his soul — Bram Stoker

praise all their wares in terms so extravagant that a sane buyer is instantly steeled against believing even that percentage of these praises which may perhaps be true — C.E.Montague

III. noun

( plural wise )

Etymology: Middle English, from Old English wīsa, from wīs wise

: wise man , sage — usually used in plural

a word to the wise is sufficient

books … by the wise of other days — V.L.Parrington

IV. adverb

Etymology: Middle English, from wise (II)

archaic : wisely

V. verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: wise (II)

transitive verb

: to supply with information : make wise

I'll wise you. You've been bilked — McClure's

— usually used with up

think their talent will flower magically if they are wised up to a few tricks of the trade — Jan Peerce

intransitive verb

: to become informed or knowledgeable : get hep : learn — used with up

you can wise up on details … by reading a booklet — Kiplinger Washington Letter

people are wising up … to the fact that they have been deprived of a lot of good music — Wall Street Journal

VI. transitive verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

Etymology: Middle English wisen, from Old English wīsian; akin to Old High German wīsen to show the way, Old Norse vīsa, Gothic fulla weisjan to persuade; all from a prehistoric Germanic adjective represented by Old English wīs wise, knowing

1. chiefly Scotland

a. : to show (a person) the way : direct , guide

b. : advise , persuade

took me by the hand, and wised me to go back — John Galt

2. chiefly Scotland : to divert or impel in a given direction : send , turn

fish rushed … before him, as he quietly wised them shoreward — J.K.Hunter

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.