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We had a discussion with our collegues about this.

They think "to wise" means something like "the way to wisdom" but I really can't put it in my brain since it sounds off to me. I proposed that the closest one would be "to wisdom" but since we're not native English speakers, we can't be sure.

Is "to wise" appropriate to use in English?

Example sentence: For a rookie, road to wise is long and exhausting.

  • Are your colleagues trying to use 'wise' as a verb? We need an example of how they want to use it in a sentence. – Kate Bunting Nov 2 '18 at 8:53
  • They are using it as "to have virtue". Even if they are using for some other meaning, does it sound ok? – Ramazan Polat Nov 2 '18 at 8:56
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    I've never heard the phrase to wise. I have, however, heard the phrase to wit. (Which means "in other words" or "that is to say.") Are they confusing the two? – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Nov 2 '18 at 9:00
  • You still haven't given an example sentence, but, no, it doesn't sound OK. – Kate Bunting Nov 2 '18 at 9:23
  • @KateBunting added – Ramazan Polat Nov 2 '18 at 9:48
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If you want to shorten “in the direction of X” to “to X”, X needs to be a noun. It can be an abstract noun such as wisdom or folly, but not an adjective like “wise”.

The rationale is that even a metaphorical movement towards something requires a ‘thing’ to move towards, rather than merely an attribute of one.

Now, sometimes adjectives can be used as nouns. To the extent that is possible, you can use the noun form or noun ‘sense’ with “to” as a direction.

For example, they are the wise uses “the wise” as a noun phrase denoting a group of people (not merely a personification of wisdom), so you can move towards them: “go to the wise”. Here, the natural sense would also be to go to the specified group of people, rather than metaphorically towards wisdom.

Returning to your question: the word “wise” on its own doesn’t seem to be able to be treated as a noun, so * to wise wouldn’t be “appropriate to use in English”.

  • Do you think there is another place to use "to wise" in any other sentence? Or maybe it does have a meaning alone? – Ramazan Polat Nov 2 '18 at 13:40
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    You can say “to wise up”, but that uses “wise up” rather than just “wise” on its own. You might also be able to get away with it in poetry. – Lawrence Nov 2 '18 at 13:44
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    @RamazanPolat Word-play is another possibility: the wise and fall of seasonal dieting (that example doesn’t use to, but similar constraints would normally apply). – Lawrence Nov 2 '18 at 13:49
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The Oxford English Dictionary, the verb "wise" is marked

Obsolete exc. Sc. and northern dialect.

So if you are in Scotland or northern England you may hear this.

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