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1. To become improved in appearance, style, or attractiveness. This isn't a casual party, so you should really try to smarten up with a suit or something. He's really smartened up since moving in with his girlfriend.
2. To make someone or something improve in appearance, style, or attractiveness. A nice, high-quality button-down shirt will go a long way towards smartening you up. We've hired an interior decorator to smarten up the store.
3. To become smarter, wiser, more alert, or more sophisticated. I knew I would have to sharpen up when I moved to the big city—people would be more than happy to take advantage of a country bumpkin like me. You need to sharpen up and stop acting like such a fool. I'm taking some evening courses to try to smarten up a bit.
4. To make someone or something become smarter, wiser, more alert, or more sophisticated. I need to smarten up my little brother now that he's living on his own, because he's never had to do a thing for himself his whole life. I tell you, moving to a new country and navigating the legal intricacies of immigration smartened me up really quick.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
to get smarter; to become more alert and knowing. You had better smarten up if you want to survive around here. I knew he would smarten up sooner or later.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. To improve someone or something in appearance or stylishness: You can smarten up a dull sweater with a fashionable pin. The designer took my original idea for the greeting card and smartened it up.
2. To improve someone's appearance or stylishness: I think this colorful new hat will smarten you up! Please try to smarten yourself up before we get to the party.
3. To improve in appearance or stylishness: I had to smarten up when I moved to the city, so I bought a new suit.
4. To make someone more aware, informed, or sophisticated: I had to smarten up my young cousins about money management. The experiences they had when buying their first home smartened them up.
5. To become more aware, informed, or sophisticated: We smartened up after we had been scammed by the salesperson, and never went back to that store again.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.