Apart from 'street-smart' what is another word for street-wise?

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    How do you plan to use the term? Could you provide an example sentence, and explain why street-wise isn't suitable? – Nathaniel is protesting Nov 23 '15 at 20:37

How about (the surprisingly old) worldly-wise - Having or characterised by worldly wisdom; experienced in the ways of the world. (OED). Or you could use savvy - Common sense, practical intelligence, shrewdness (OED).

c1400 (▸?a1387) Langland Piers Plowman (Huntington HM 137) (1873) C. xi. l. 90 Ȝe worldliche wyse, vnwyse þat ȝe suffre, Lene hem and loue hem. c1450 (▸1415) Crowned King l. 85 in W. W. Skeat Langland's Piers Plowman (1873) 527 Þou most be worldly wys & ware þe be-tymes.

1562 Bp. J. Pilkington Expos. Abdyas Ee ij, These Edomites..picked oute..the worldly wisest men, thei coulde finde to be their rulers.

1667 Milton Paradise Lost xii. 568 By things deemd weak Subverting worldly strong, and worldly wise By simply meek.

1792 M. Wollstonecraft Vindic. Rights Woman viii. 307, I do not say that a prudent, worldly-wise man..may not sometimes obtain a more smooth reputation than a wiser or a better man.

1866 C. Kingsley Hereward the Wake I. iv. 148 The lads..imposed on by the cynical and worldly-wise tone which their..uncle had assumed.

1909 H. T. Peck Stud. in Several Literatures ix. 158 Unless you are a Londoner, unless you are worldly-wise, unless you have yourself a touch of cynicism in your nature, you will not greatly care for Thackeray.

1954 J. T. McNeill Hist. & Char. Calvinism ii. xiii. 206 True doctrine is a scandal to the worldly-wise.

2005 T. Aw Harmony Silk Factory iii. 295 ‘Ah bollocks,’ said Brother Rodney, a burly Australian who likes to think of himself as rather more worldly-wise than he is.

1785 F. Grose Classical Dict. Vulgar Tongue Scavey, sense, knowledge; ‘massa me no scavey’, master I don't know, (negroe language) perhaps from the French scavoir.

1825 J. Jamieson Etymol. Dict. Sc. Lang. Suppl. Savie, knowledge, experience, sagacity.

1890 ‘R. Boldrewood’ Colonial Reformer (1891) 47 He could ride the best, but the black boy had twice as much savey.

1964 E. B. White Let. 1 Feb. (1976) 515, I felt deeply envious of their skills, their savvy, their self reliance, and their general deportment.

1978 J. Carroll Mortal Friends v. i. 496 Kennedy's reputation was for more savvy than that. He knew his history, didn't he, and its humbling lesson?

2007 J. Lott Warm Bucket Brigade p. xxii, For all their savvy, the American founders never would have dreamt that the president would one day use the vice president as a human shield.

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  • +1 for savvy... or even street-savvy – OneProton Nov 23 '15 at 22:09
  • Of course the most up-to-the-minute words haven't made it into print yet (let alone the OED). – Dan Nov 23 '15 at 22:26

A few decades ago I might have said this one was becoming somewhat "dated"...

1. (Chiefly British) Mentally alert; sharp

...but noting the second definition from thefreedictionary above,...

  1. (Slang) Fashionable; stylish

...and this one from onlineslangdictionary...

Very good, excellent; "cool"; "awesome"

...I think either it's made a spectacular comeback, or it never really went away.

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For another variation using street, consider street-savvy.

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I'd probably go with sophisticated or worldly.

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The word for this changes all the time, as choosing slang well is part of being street-wise to begin with. So a lot of times this is a very 'period' word. But some versions last.

A lot of words for this become general terms for productive intelligence like savvy. But that leaves out the 'street', which is about observation, information and environment. Or they come to mean worldly, but that indicates a breadth of exposure that streetwise does not imply.

The most generic form that works might be with it: in synch with the zeitgeist; most recently revived in the form down with it (which I think has now moved on, and become an indication of agreement and not awareness.)

My favorite of all time is hep.

And the most stable one may be canny, which is the information-rich version of cunning.

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