I know we can say “smart choice” or “wise choice”, but does “bright choice” sound natural, too?

For example, can I say: This is clearly not the brightest choice I have ever made.

I’ve searched online but most of the results are lighting company names... Hope someone can help me. Cheers!

  • 4
    I would said “that’s not the brightest choice I’ve ever made”, in a negative context like that, but I wouldn’t say “that was a bright choice”. It somehow feels idiomatic to use the concept “not bright” to describe a choice, but I’d only use “bright” (positive) to describe a person. Maybe that’s just me though.
    – Dan Bron
    Dec 24, 2017 at 19:20
  • 1
    It's not the most common expression but it's understandable. Dec 25, 2017 at 5:53
  • When I google "not the brightest choice" (with quotes) I get plenty of hits. // To avoid the lighting company names, the trick is to exclude some key words, using the minus sign. Dec 25, 2017 at 14:21

2 Answers 2


If it helps, Google Books "Ngram" reports that between 1859 and 2008 "bright choice" is not often used in printed English. The peak usage of 6.7^-8% was reached in 1858 to 1865. Since the end of the American Civil War it has dropped significantly from there, and by 2008 it was 2.83^-8%.

"Wise choice" by comparison has a frequency some 1,000 times higher than "bright choice." It is always possible that a word or phrase is much more used when speaking rather than writing, or among a specific sub-group of the population, but my own experience is that "bright choice" is not a phrase in common usage, and one that I would regard as a neologism.

  • You've missed the sarcastic tone OP was looking for. And when I google "not the brightest choice" (with quotes) I get plenty of hits. Dec 25, 2017 at 14:24
  • The OP had asked whether "bright choice" sounded natural, and that's what I chose to address, concluding that it wasn't widely used. You focused on the use of "brightest choice", and counseled that it was a wiser choice, particularly when used in a sarcastic voice. Two different, but hopefully helpful, responses to two different questions the OP presented.
    – Allen S.
    Dec 28, 2017 at 2:43

The right usage for the context would be ‘brilliant choice.’

Example: This is clearly not the most brilliant choice I have ever made.

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    This is very misleading. There is nothing more ‘right’ about most brilliant; in fact it sounds less idiomatic to me than brightest in the context given. Dec 25, 2017 at 12:08
  • @JanusBahsJacquet - When I google "not the most brilliant choice" (with quotes) I get plenty of hits. However, I would not say this is a brilliant choice. It's a reasonable choice. // Rohit, you should document your answer. It's not enough to provide an example. Dec 25, 2017 at 14:23
  • @aparente001 I get 13 hits for “not the most brilliant choice” and 83 for “not the brightest choice” (including this page). Hardly plenty of hits, but enough to support that ‘brightest’ is in fact more common than ‘most brilliant’ in this particular context. My beef wasn’t that there’s anything wrong with ‘most brilliant’ as such, but rather that it’s definitely not correct to call it “the right usage”, implying that ‘brightest’ is somehow wrong. Dec 25, 2017 at 14:27
  • @JanusBahsJacquet - Agreed. They're both reasonable choices. Dec 25, 2017 at 14:34

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