General Question

Aesthetic_Mess's avatar

If you say someone is smart & intelligent, is that being redundant?

Asked by Aesthetic_Mess (7887points) October 28th, 2010

Is there a difference between being smart and intelligent?

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20 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Yes, it is being redundant. Although they don’t really mean the same thing.

Smart means sharp, witty, with an edge.

Cruiser's avatar

IMO, smart and intelligent don’t always go hand in hand. I have seen brilliant people do some really dumb things. Uneducated also doesn’t mean you can’t be smart about it.

BarnacleBill's avatar

I think if someone is described as smart and intelligent, the speaker means to imply that they have both common sense and analytical ability. There are more precise words than “smart” and “intelligent.”

BoBo1946's avatar

“Cruse” has a good point. I’ve seen people with doctor’s degrees that are intelligent, but smart would be a stretch. Granted, there are exception to the rule. And, as Bill said, common sense (equate common sense with smart) may or may not be part of an intelligent man’s persona. And, the real kicker, loll…is when you are absent of both…common sense and intelligent! that would be me lately!

GeorgeGee's avatar

Smart can have a variety of meanings that would not necessarily be redundant. For instance you can be “smartly dressed” but that wouldn’t be the same as being “intelligently dressed.” There are also street smarts… people who are not easily taken advantage of, for instance. If you consider a class full of “gifted” 5th graders who are doing calculus, while all are unquestionably intelligent, I’ll bet none of them would have “street smarts.”

Brian1946's avatar

I would say that intelligence can refer to one’s ability to learn and being smart can be using what one has learned.
In that case, I don’t think that they’re redundant.

9doomedtodie's avatar

Your confusion may be clear after visiting this site.

stratman37's avatar

NOT redundant. Intelligence is the CAPACITY for learning. Smarts is the ACCUMULATION of all you’ve learned.

crazyivan's avatar

Not to be the literalist in the group, but yes, it is redundant. Smart and Intelligent are synonyms and though they have various cultural connotations, the two words are interchangable. They both denote the alert capacity for abstract thought and neither references the sum total of ones knowledge.

To Brain & Stratman’s point, that would be more like smart (or intelligent) and knowledgeable, erudite or conversant (which denote having particular knowledge of a field).

CMaz's avatar

Smart = Wisdom

intelligent = Smart

gailcalled's avatar

There are nuanced differences today but I consider them synonyms also. To me, “intelligence” has always connoted intellectual potential, no matter how much of a doofus the person is.

“Wisdom” also has its place in the lexicon as does “shrewd.”

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crazyivan's avatar

I would disagree with the equating of “Smart” and “Wise”. Wise clearly denotes accumulated knowledge. If a child was unusually good at solving puzzles you could correctly call him smart, but it would be inaccurate to call him wise.

Intelligence is an innate quality, whereas wisdom is accumulated.

Joybird's avatar

Smart and Intelligent are too closely equated in many minds making it appear to be redundant. There are so many other words you could use…..evocative, provative, articulate,
witty, talented, stimulating, etc.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Joybird Good point, people need to add more interesting, descriptive words to their vocabulary.

gailcalled's avatar

@Joybird: I love to learn new words but, alas, could find no definition for “provative.” Might you help?

jerv's avatar

Some of the dumbest people I ever met were some of my fellow classmates at Nuke School. Considering how intelligent you have to be to even be considered for being allowed to take the entrance exam (minimum ASVAB score of 80+) and how dumb some of these people who were absorbing a 24-week crash course in nuclear physics were, I would say that it is not redundant.

Conversely, I’ve known some pretty smart people who were of average intelligence.

mattbrowne's avatar

The two words seem to overlap, perhaps 90%. There are nuances when you look at all the connotations.

gailcalled's avatar

And if you are simply making an off-hand statement, they mean much the same thing.

Me, at age 12: “She’s really smart.”

Me, now: “She seems intelligent but lacks common sense.”

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