What is the difference between an intelligent person and a wise person?

Intelligence is having a good understanding or a high mental capacity; quick to comprehend.

Intelligence can be displayed or characterized by quickness of understanding, sound thought, or good judgment: Once there was a person who was roaming around in some place and saw a big septic tank. Septic tanks are used to store human waste, feces etc. He was just looking inside the septic tank, out of curiosity and fell into the septic tank. Inside the tank, he got really scared and perturbed with the smell etc. He, all of a sudden started yelling fire, fire, fire. Someone passing by heard the word fire and immediately called the fire brigade.

The fire brigade came and they started looking for fire the man inside the septic tank was still shouting fire, fire. They saw him and rescued him from the septic tank. The fire crew officer asked him, why you were shouting fire when there is no fire. Then the man who just got rescued by fire crew said very intelligently “ sir if I was shouting shit shit would you come? So this person displayed a quick understanding of the situation and by using good judgment he decided to shout a word fire. A completely irrelevant word for his situation but it worked.

When a person is inherently intelligent they can also be smart but ONLY a smart person may not be very intelligent by nature. Because smartness comes from the situation or circumstances they are facing. Like people come with various ways to save taxes. Slowly they become smart at saving money legally or not so legal but if they do not have the circumstances of the heavy tax burden they will never come up with these tricks.

So smartness is mainly situation/circumstances dependent but intelligence can be inherent trait like in the above example this person is not going to fall into the septic tank, again and again, to come up with a quick wit to rescue himself.

That is why the word street smart was coined. People get into some routine bad circumstances and they come up with smart ideas to overcome it by trial and error method and eventually becomes smart.

Intelligence is having the faculty of reasoning and understanding too. Once there was a professor who was very intelligent and wise. In a photography department, one student stole the very expensive camera. the head of the dept. felt very bad and sent the circular that we will punish & rusticate the student who has stolen the camera.

But the professor announced in his class, that whoever has taken the camera (please see the word choice taken not stolen) please put it back into my car in the next 3 hours. And the camera was returned within 1/2 hour.

One student out of momentary weakness took it out but was feeling very guilty already and with Dept head’s circular, he was not able to gather the courage to return the camera.

But when professor announced in a very polite way he instantly returned the camera. One professor’s faculty of reasoning and understanding with intelligence saved one student’s life and his future. Not only he covered up the student’s momentarily weakness he also did not disclose his identity.

You can see now, there is a difference in being smart and being intelligent. Most likely intelligent people will have higher EQ and smart people may be having good IQ.

It is very rare to see a person with higher IQ and EQ at the same time.

''Wisdom is a virtue, intelligence is a trait''

If this quote does not speak on this, I don't know what does.

The difference between being wise and being intelligent is that wisdom is so much more than intelligence.

As we all know, intelligent people can become wise, if they truly want to. All they have to do is to make a few changes in their behavior and knowledge and put in some effort.

So, here are the differences between wise and smart people.

The way they process information

Wise people always process information logically and emotionally. Intelligent people process information quite differently. They process in a very logical and systematic way.

The things they are sensitive about

Probably this is one of the biggest difference. Wise people are truly and only sensitive to the subtle things in their lives and their own experiences. Intelligent people, on the other hand, are extremely sensitive to the latest trends and society and general.

Talking and Listening

Wise people tend to pay more attention to what others have to say and add comments occasionally whilst intelligent people like talking in order to express their opinions, views, and ideas.

Solving problems

Wise people more than often would like to inspire others to solve problems. Yes, solving problems themselves is good, but inspiring others to solve problems is greater. Intelligent people, on the other hand, find a huge satisfaction when they can solve problems effectively.


Wise people are known to be very open-minded people, meaning, they accept and even embrace the differences between themselves and others. They accept people who have different opinions even if they don't necessarily agree with them. Intelligent people are quite the opposite. They strongly stick to what they think and they sometimes impose their thoughts on other people.

Judgment vs. Knowledge

This is a simple and pure difference - When having issues, wise people rely on their own judgments and intuitive while intelligent people rely on their knowledge.


Although it is a very good thing to be confident and to believe in yourself, you should also be humble and man up to your mistakes. Wise people are people who are very aware of their weaknesses and they always stay humble to learn more and better themselves. Intelligent people are people who are aware of their abilities and are very confident about everything they can do.


Wise people take far more time than intelligent people to digest the knowledge and understand what they learned more deeply. Intelligent people acquire and apply knowledge very quickly and regurgitate dry facts.

The past vs. The future

Wise people are made through their past experiences and tend to provide guidance to others. Intelligent people are born to deal with future developments and develop even more.


Last but not least, their level of smartness is very different. Wise people always ask smart questions while intelligent people are the ones who will give you smart answers.

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