Advertise Here

Community Comment

A Word A Day — worldly-wise

Good morning, Netizens…


October 18, 2012

Word of the Day


  • worldly-wise

  • audio pronunciation

  • \WERLD-wee-wyze\




: possessing a practical and often shrewd understanding of human affairs



The interns' supervisor addressed the group, saying “We don't expect our interns to be worldly-wise—we expect them to be conscientious, hardworking, and committed to learning how work in a small non-profit is done.”

“His supposed ruthlessness is the perfect antidote to that greatest of sins for the worldly-wise—naïveté.” — From Miles J. Unger's 2011 book Machiavelli: A Biography



“Worldly-wise” is one of a handful of compound adjectives formed from the word “wise” (“having wisdom or knowledge”). “Penny-wise” (from the phrase “penny-wise and pound-foolish“) is a good word for describing someone who is good with only small sums or matters. “Weather-wise” can describe a competent meteorologist or someone who is competent in a different kind of forecasting: that of changes in opinion or feeling. These adjectives aren't especially common, but they do see occasional use. Even less common is “air-wise,” which can be applied to people skilled in aviation. And if you master these words and feel the wiser for it, you may consider yourself “self-wise”—that is, wise in your own estimation.

From Merriam-Webster Online at

Please keep it civil. Don't post comments that are obscene, defamatory, threatening, off-topic, an infringement of copyright or an invasion of privacy. Read our forum standards and community guidelines.

You must be logged in to post comments. Please log in here or click the comment box below for options.

comments powered by Disqus
« Back to Community Comment

Get blog updates by email

About this blog

Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane.

Latest comments »

Read all the posts from recent conversations on Community Comment.

Search this blog
Subscribe to this blog
Advertise Here