For many people, there is no difference between smart and intelligent, because the words seem to be interchangeable. However, there is a difference between the meanings and use of these words.
Smart can be applied to learned inferences, such as making smart business or emotional decisions. Smart is an earned status. When we study and learn, we become smarter in the subject matter. Book smart or street smart, we have to put effort into becoming smarter.
Intelligence, on the other hand, is something with which you are born. Your IQ is a measurement of your intelligence, and doesn’t change because it is a measure of your ability to learn. This can apply to terms we chronically associate with intelligence, like math, or it can apply to your ability to learn negotiation of emotional issues. In either case, it is inherent, and it simply stems from your genetic makeup.
Smart can also be applied to sarcasm. We have ‘smart alec’ answers, or we can be ‘smart’ when answering a question or talking in a conversation. We don’t apply intelligent to the idea of being sarcastic.
Intelligent is used as a higher level of measured intellect. We give a higher compliment when we tell someone they are intelligent, versus when we tell them that they are smart. Intelligence is directly related to our own degree of sophisticated knowledge.
Smart can also be applied to describe appearance. If you are a smart dresser, or you represent yourself in a smart way, this in no way implies that you have intelligence. It means that you are appropriate for the conditions, and that you look very good. We don’t imply that you are an intelligent dresser.
Intelligence also implies a certain degree of higher education. Whether you’ve actually completed a higher education, or you have yet to do so, we refer to intelligent people as those we assume to have completed a higher level of education than high school. While there are those who are intelligent who never go to college, the implication is essential when understanding the description offered.
1. Smart is a learned application.
2. Smart is an earned status.
3. Intelligence is the measurement of your ability to become smarter through learning.
4. Smart can be applied to sarcasm.
5. Intelligence infers a higher degree of intelligence when compared to smart.
6. Smart can be used to describe appearances.
7. Intelligence implies higher learning levels, and higher education.