How to translate street smart into Mandarin?

Baidu gives:

n. 城市生活方式、生存能力

but that's can't be right...

As in: A street smart cop.


A cop with street-smarts.


Originally it means empirical wisdom gleaned from the streets.

市井聪明, 街市里积累的智慧

市井 [street]∶街市, [urban vulgar class] 指城市中流俗之人

Source: http://baike.baidu.com/view/849797.htm

聪明【英译】wise;sensitive clever;smart

Source: http://baike.baidu.com/subview/95047/11119951.htm

  • 1
    I think just "市井" works as well. – Fang Jing Sep 29 '14 at 2:51



老油条(somehow negative)、老浆糊(somehow negative)


It seems that no exact word for it, we can say he is a 百事通。


iciba has 1 example sentence with 他有都市人的精明劲儿,web search yields http://www.unsv.com/voanews/words-and-idioms/lessons/152/ Lesson 152 - street smart (two-way street). Note that VOA流行美国习惯用语 Lesson 152 concerns the noun "street smart(s)",there also is Lesson 20 http://www.unsv.com/voanews/popular-american/lessons/20/ for the adjective which seems to indicate that the VOA people were not aware of a simple precise Chinese analog。


小聪明 that would work coz this is the closet expression 市井聪明 could work but it's more of a written style while my answer could used basically everywhere

  • 小聪明 is rather negative and would be better translated as 'smart ass' than 'street smart'... – user3306356 Sep 30 '14 at 10:54

I'm thinking maybe 能幹 or 經驗老道 has some similar meaning to it.

能幹: capable, useful.

經驗老道: have abundant experiences.


In Cantonese there's a saying called:


meaning: a person that has street smart, excellent at social skill and dealing with people

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