Green’s Dictionary of Slang

smart adj.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

smart aleck

see separate entries.


see separate entries.


see under smart-arse.

smart bucks (n.) (also smart dollar) [buck n.3 (4)]

(US Und.) money gained through crime.

[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 199/1: Smart buck or dollar. Money obtained by cleverness, skill or guile.
[US]C. Hamilton Men of the Und. 289: While the smart bucks are rolling in, the average crook never gives a thought to reform.
Palm Beach Post (FL) 17 Aug. 49/1: [headline] ‘Smart bucks’ is chump’s change to disguise what is suspected.
smart eye (v.)

(US) to stare in a challenging manner.

[US]Eminem ‘Drug Ballad’ [lyrics] You have the right to remain violent and start wilin’ / Start a fight with the same guy that was smart eyin’ you.
[US] M. McBride Frank Sinatra in a Blender [ebook] The fuck with the handlebar mustache was gone, but two of his buddies were giving me the smart eye.
smart fart (n.) [fart n. (2)]

(Aus./N.Z.) one who considers themselves clever.

[Aus]A. Buzo Front Room Boys Scene viii: Bit of a smart fart, eh?
[Aus]A. Buzo Macquarie 11: Yeah, thats been said, smart fart.
R. Bausch Take Me Back 14: You’re a smart fart for an eleven year-old kid.
P. Carter Double Dare 116: You got him out there, smart fart. You can watch him.
M.G. Cannon The Seer 14: Better play it straight, hey? This dude must be one smart fart!
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. 193: smart fart A know-it-all From 1930s.
smart guy (n.) (also smart gee)

a knowledgable individual, or one who believes themselves to be.

Engineer 13 June 553/1: What makes me want to rest, it is to have some smart guy come into the engine room and tell me that he has learned all there is to learn.
[US]A.H. Lewis Apaches of N.Y. 242: There’s nothin’ in that high society stuff. A smart guy like me could learn his way t'rough in a week.
[US]J. Callahan Man’s Grim Justice 23: I waded right through the curriculum of crime [...] I was an apt pupil and a smart guy.
[US]G.T. Fleming-Roberts ‘The Silenced Partner’ in Ten Detective Aces Oct. [Internet] We’re a couple of smart guys [...] Didn’t we clean up near fifty grand.
[US]J. Archibald ‘When a Body Meets a Body’ in Popular Detective Sept. [Internet] He was a smart gee an’ they never could pin any thin’ on him.
[US]D. Dressler Parole Chief 15: ‘All right, smart guy!’ he sneered.
[US]E. De Roo Go, Man, Go! 76: That’s from thinking other drivers could crack up, but it wouldn’t happen to me. I was a smart guy.
[US]B. Jackson Get Your Ass in the Water (1974) 70: Some smart guys who think they’re wise, / but they can’t conquer their downfall.
smart mouth

see separate entries.

smart play (n.)

(US teen) a good-looking, popular individual.

[US]Baltimore Sun (MD) Sun. Mag. 4 Dec. 9/1: Twitter MacAfee was the smart play of Blight Area 12, but although she pounded some ground at most of the blasts with Bugsy, the kook always blew the pad with a grub.
smart stuff (n.)

1. (US teen) a show-off.

Baltimore Sun 22 June Magazine 6/5: Smart stuff . . . show off.

2. (US black) deceitful, underhand activity.

[US]C. Major Juba to Jive.

In phrases

book smart (adj.)

(US campus) academically high-flying, but low on common sense and social skills; also as n., one who reads and studies.

[US]P. Munro Sl. U. 43: That girl is really book smart — she gets straight As, but she forgot she had to enroll for next quarter’s classes.
[US]D. Gaines Teenage Wasteland 97: Many were suspicious and resentful of ‘book smarts.’ Nobody in my home ‘read’; we watched television.
half-smart (adj.)

(US) stupid or reckless.

Oregon Dly Jrnl (Portland, OR) 21 June 21/3: Patricia Goldsmith , the central figure of ‘Half-Smart Set,’ a novel.
in D. Hammett Big Knockover 322: Don’t get the idea he’s half-smart. He’s dangerous.
[US]F. Riesenberg Waterfront Reporter 47: Ogle gets some half-smart ideas, but he doesn’t lie [HDAS].
[US]Spin Feb. 57/1: Ernest P. Worrell is a throwback to [...] every half-smart half-assed hayseed in the history of American comed.
E. Naughton Hale’s Gate 44: He’s about half-smart, I know, but he's basically harmless.
smart as… (adj.)

see separate entry.

smarted up (adj.)

(US) informed, aware.

[US]D. Hammett Red Harvest (1965) 21: I come all the way down here to rope you, and you’re smarted up.
smart off (v.)

(US black) to cheek, to ‘backtalk’.

[UK]W. Talsman Gaudy Image (1966) 34: ‘You want a fist?’ ‘Naw, why?’ ‘Keep smartin’ off, and you’ll get one.’.
[UK](con. 1940s) D. MacCuish Do Not Go Gentle (1962) 170: Don’t smart off with me, Gilman.
C. Sellers Where Have All the Soldiers Gone 114: ‘Don’t smart off at me, Yates’.
[US]W.T. Vollmann Royal Family 306: You smarting off to me, bitch?
[US]L. Berney Gutshot Straight [ebook] [O]ne time a dancer smarted off to the Whale and he slapped her so hard he broke her jaw.
smart someone up (v.) (also smarten, smarten up)

(US) to pass over information, to explain.

[US]Wash. Times (DC) 21 Aug. 4/4: He smarts himself up on the parlor tricks that a dame falls for.
[US]D. Hammett ‘Assistant Murderer’ in Nightmare Town (2001) 139: If you think this is a nice place to talk about whatever you want to talk about, go ahead! But if you’re counting on me talking, too, you’d better smart me up.
[US]Irwin Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 173: Smarten Up. – To advise or explain to; to detail a plan. An individual is said to be smart when knowing, wise or experienced, hence the application of the phrase.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 199/1: Smarten up. 1. To become, or to help another to become, sophisticated in the lore of the underworld.
[US]B. Schulberg On the Waterfront (1964) 212: Terry had been sweating out whether or not to smarten him.
[US]Ragen & Finston World’s Toughest Prison 818: smarten up – To advise or explain to.
street smart (adj.)

see separate entry.