definition of smarting by The Free Dictionary



adj. smart·er, smart·est


a. Having or showing intelligence; bright. See Synonyms at intelligent.

b. Canny and shrewd in dealings with others: a smart negotiator.


a. Amusingly clever; witty: a smart quip; a lively, smart conversation.

b. Impertinent; insolent: That’s enough of your smart talk.

3. Energetic or quick in movement: a smart pace.

4. Fashionable; elegant: a smart suit; a smart restaurant; the smart set. See Synonyms at fashionable.

5. Capable of making adjustments that resemble those resulting from human decisions, chiefly by means of electronic sensors and computer technology: smart missiles; smart machines.

intr.v. smart·ed, smart·ing, smarts


a. To cause a sharp, usually superficial, stinging pain: The slap delivered to my face smarted.

b. To be the location of such a pain: The incision on my leg smarts.

c. To feel such a pain.

2. To suffer acutely, as from mental distress, wounded feelings, or remorse: “No creature smarts so little as a fool” (Alexander Pope).


1. Sharp pain or anguish: the smart of the wound.

2. smarts Slang Intelligence; expertise: a reporter with a lot of smarts.

Phrasal Verb:

smart off Informal

To speak or act impertinently.


right smart New England & Southern US

A lot; a considerable amount: “We have read right smart of that book” (Catherine C. Hopley).

[Middle English, stinging, keen, alert, from Old English smeart, causing pain.]

smart′ly adv.

smart′ness n.

American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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