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See also: whipsmart



Inversion of earlier smart as a whip (compare rock solid, from solid as a rock; snow-white, from white as snow; etc.). Possibly an allusion to how quickly the tip of a whip moves when the whip is cracked.




  1. (Canada, US, informal) Very intelligent.
    • 1948, Ray Josephs, Latin America: Continent in Crisis, New York, N.Y.: Random House, OCLC 1025746627:
      Seeing them here in town, smart in American-style uniforms, Peru's Army looks extremely well-trained, whip-smart.
    • 1949, Don E. Chamberlain, “Illinois: The ‘New Look’”, in Robert S[haron] Allen, editor, Our Sovereign State, New York, N.Y.: The Vanguard Press; Toronto, Ont.: Copp Clark Company, OCLC 919581169, page 208:
      [Reed F.] Cutler, 350-pounder from Lewistown in the strip coalmining area, was a constant thorn in the Democratic side. A whip-smart parliamentarian, he effectively filled the role of "needler" as House Republican Leader.
    • 2014, Adele Griffin, “Acknowledgements”, in The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone, New York, N.Y.: Soho Teen, →ISBN:
      A big hug for the whipsmart, feisty Soho Teen team: Janine Agro, Meredith Barnes, Juliet Grames, Bronwen Hruska, and Rachel Kowal—what a fascinating journey, thank you so much for all your work to make it happen.
    • 2017 October 27, Alex McLevy, “Making a Killing: The Brief Life and Bloody Death of the Post-Scream Slasher Revival”, in The A.V. Club[1], archived from the original on 5 March 2018:
      Like Cabin In The Woods, it manages the extraordinary balancing act of delivering actual scares (more so than Cabin) while being a whip-smart critique of how scares are manufactured.

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