“Smart”

As you know very well, in Spanish and Catalan, and probably most languages, there are many words which have more than one meaning, frequently many more than one. The English language is no exception and today I want to discuss some of the different meanings of the word ‘smart’.

There are two principal meanings of the adjective ‘smart’ and the first is used synonymously with ‘elegant’. “You’re looking very smart today =Hoy estás muy elegante’ orThey have a really smart house” = ‘Tienen una casa muy bien puesta.’

The second meaning of smart is synonymous with ‘intelligent’, ‘clever’, or ‘astute’. “She’s made some very smart business moves” = ‘Ha hecho algunas operaciones muy inteligentes/acertadas.’ The context will usually help you to decide which use of the word is involved.

‘Smart’ is also a verb which has a similar meaning to ‘sting’ or to feel a sharp pain.

“The memory of her words still smarted” = ‘Sus palabras le seguían doliendo / lo seguían mortificando’. “They’re still smarting from their defeat in the elections” = ‘Todavía se resienten de su derrota electoral’. It is used less as a verb than it is as an adjective or an adverb.

The Smart Set = Gente de buon tono.

Smart money – los inversionistas /inversores inteligentes, los entendidos;

el dinero de los inversionistas / inversores inteligentes, el dinero de los entendidos

Look at the use of smart in these expressions: smart bomb, smart card, smart money, smart data. Do you think they are elegant, or intelligent?

A smart-aleck, or smarty-pants, or smart-arse (UK) / smart-ass (USA) is someone who seems to know everything, or thinks they do.

Finally, I’m sure you have all definitely seen a ‘Smart’ car moving around Barcelona. Why do you think Mercedes-Benz decided to call their small, two-seater car ‘Smart’?

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