Difference Between Smart and Wise

Key Difference – Smart vs Wise

 

Smart and wise are two words that can often be very confusing to most of us although there is a difference between the two words. You may have heard people use the word smart for children, friends or even yourself. What does being smart mean? And how is it different from being wise? First let us look at the meanings of these words. Smart is a word used to emphasize that someone is intelligent. Wise, on the other hand, is used to emphasize that someone has experience, knowledge, and good judgment. The key difference between smart and wise is that while smart is used to highlight intelligence, wise is used to highlight good judgment that goes beyond mere intelligence.

What Does Smart Mean?

Smart is used to emphasize intelligence. People use this word to refer to the intelligence or knowledge of others when they say; he is a smart kid, she is a smart girl, etc. Being smart is having a higher level of intelligence which allows the person to go easily through life. For example a smart kid can easily pass exams, score good marks and become the best in class.

This often includes knowledge that the person gains from books or other materials. Some even are born with higher intelligence that makes life much easier. In either case, being smart does not necessarily guarantee a comfortable life for the individual because although he may have a lot of intelligence he may not know how to make use of it. This is where the difference between smart and wise stems from. So let us look at the next section to understand the difference.

Difference Between Smart and Wise

What Does Wise Mean?

Wise is used to emphasize that someone has experience, knowledge, and good judgment. A wise person unlike a smart person is not merely knowledgeable but also has enough experience. This assists the person in making good judgments.

The knowledge of the wise person is not confined to books, so this authentic experience helps him to reach out and grab opportunities that come his way. This is why it is believed that the wise person not only has knowledge but also knows to act upon it. Also, a wise person is aware of his flaws that drive him to find new information and benefit from it. This allows the person to achieve personal growth. This can be considered as a difference from the smart person because being smart blinds him to the reality that there are flaws in him. This weakness cannot be seen in the wise person.

Key Difference - Smart vs Wise

What is the difference between Smart and Wise?

Definitions of Smart and Wise:

Smart: Smart is used to emphasize intelligence.

Wise: Wise is used to emphasize that someone has experience, knowledge, and good judgment.

Characteristics of Smart and Wise:

Intelligence:

Smart: A smart person has a lot of intelligence.

Wise: A wise person also has intelligence.

Experience:

Smart: A smart person may not have experience but mere theoretical knowledge.

Wise: A wise person has much experience.

Good Judgment:

Smart: A smart person may not have good judgment although he is intelligent.

Wise: A wise person has good judgment.

 

Image Courtesy:

1. Lewis Hine, Boy studying, ca. 1924 By Lewis Hine [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

2. “Starry Night at La Silla” by ESO/H. Dahle [CC BY 4.0] via Commons