Difference Between Being Smart & Being Intelligent

Smart vs Intelligent

Smart and intelligent are often used as synonyms, but there are differences between the two. Intelligence originates from the Latin word intelligentia, meaning “understanding, power of discerning,” while smart comes from Old English smeortan, which is similar to “quick, active, clever.” Although both terms relate to cognitive capabilities, smart specifically refers to the application of ideas and practical problem-solving in daily life. Therefore, intelligence refers to the capacity for understanding, while smart is about applying that intelligence in a practical way.

Key Takeaways

  • Intelligence is the ability to understand concepts and respond rationally, while smartness involves acting practically and effectively in social contexts.
  • Intelligence is inherited at birth and is considered an innate ability, whereas smartness is a skill that can be developed over time.
  • Smart can also be used to describe fashionable attire, while intelligent does not have this alternative meaning.

What does Intelligent mean?

A person’s intelligence level is measured by their IQ, or intelligent quotient. IQ is usually determined by assessing a person’s ability to reason, so intelligence has a direct link to a person’s ability to understand concepts and respond rationally. Renowned scientist Albert Einstein is considered one of the most intelligent people due to his remarkable ability to introduce intellectual theories to the world. Intelligence, therefore, refers to a high level of psychological functioning. Intelligence is usually inherited at birth and is considered an innate ability, unlike knowledge, which is acquired through learning over time. However, an intelligent person can learn new concepts effectively and quickly since they are good at understanding things. Different types of intelligence include emotional intelligence, mathematical intelligence, musical intelligence, and spatial intelligence.

What does Smart mean?

A smart person is someone who uses their intelligence effectively and practically in daily life. They are aware of their environment and are skilled at problem-solving. Smartness often involves quick thinking and the ability to come up with the best solution for a situation that others have not thought of. As a result, intelligence is an independent concept compared to smartness, which is relative. Smartness is often considered a skill since someone can become smarter at doing certain things over time. The term “smart” can also be used to describe attire, referring to someone who is fashionably dressed.

What is the difference between Smart and Intelligent?

Upon closer examination, the differences between smart and intelligent are as follows:

  • Intelligence is about understanding and is related to one’s ability to reason.
  • Smartness, on the other hand, is about being able to act practically and effectively in social contexts or applying intelligence practically.
  • Intelligence is something inherited at birth and is innate, while smartness is more of a skill.
  • Smart can also be used to admire attire, while intelligent cannot.

Although intelligent and smart are closely related, they have different meanings and applications in daily life.

Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard is an accomplished writer with expertise in creating engaging articles and content across various platforms. His dedication to research and crafting high-quality content has led to over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience. In his personal life, Gil enjoys connecting with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. His curiosity and eagerness to learn from others fuel his passion for communication. He believes that engaging with strangers can be both enlightening and enjoyable, making it easier to strike up conversations and expand one's horizons.


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