[[quoteright:350:[[VideoGame/SonicColors http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/shorterequalssmarter2_2062.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Yes, that creature on the left is what the device translates.]]

-> ''"[[PreAssKickingOneLiner I may be small, but I have a big brain!]]"''
-->-- ''WesternAnimation/JimmyNeutronBoyGenius''

Being the smallest in a group will always make you smarter ([[FragileSpeedster and usually more agile]]) than the rest. This, of course, is supposed to [[WeakButSkilled make up for being physically weak]].

Reflectively, in a BigGuyLittleGuy OddCouple the short one is always the planner, the schemer, the wise one. The taller may be TheHero, the DumbMuscle or the loon, [[FatIdiot the lazy one]], or just the wild one, but the short guy is always somehow smarter.

Naturally, seen often with TheSmartGuy and TheBigGuy of the FiveManBand. Interestingly enough [[UrExample the ''first'']] FiveManBand had a [[TagalongKid Small Guy]] who was only 'smart' in the {{trickster}} sense rather than the technical sense. The two roles would become conflated later. The [[TeenGenius small one as a child]] WiseBeyondTheirYears, paired with a GentleGiant. And, of course, everpresent in TheShortGuyWithGlasses.

Contrast GeniusBruiser and BadassBookworm.

See also BrainsAndBrawn and GeekPhysiques.


[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Kai (or Kaisuke, in the manga) and Yamagata from ''Manga/{{Akira}}'', with Kai being the short, smart guy in question.
* Yue Ayase of ''MahouSenseiNegima'' is the shortest of the post-pubescent characters, and easily one of the smartest.
** Naturally, the ReallySevenHundredYearsOld [[OurVampiresAreDifferent Vampire]] character Evangeline acts as a CynicalMentor to the entire group.
** And of course, ''Negi''.
* Koushiro "Izzy" Izumi of ''Anime/DigimonAdventure''. He and [[BrattyTeenageDaughter Mimi]] are both ten years old, but she's a good foot taller, while he's roughly the same height as eight-year-old Hikari.
* Gene Starwind and Jim Hawking in ''OutlawStar''.
* Chiyo from ''Manga/AzumangaDaioh'', the petite resident CheerfulChild, is [[ChildProdigy the most intelligent of the bunch]]. She's small[[note]]Her official height is 1.33m, or 4'4".[[/note]] even for ''her age''.
* ''Manga/DeathNote'' plays with this in the cases of Mello and Near. While Mello is average-short for a man (5'7) his companions in the Mafia are all a good six inches taller than he is. Near is only 5 feet, but he's [[spoiler: the one who takes Kira down in the end, so he must be fairly intellegent.]]
* ''Manga/DragonBall Z'' example: Vegeta and Nappa. Notable in that shorter is also more powerful as well.
* ''ThePrinceOfTennis'': Ryoh Shishido, with is taller, stronger doubles partner Ohtori. Of course, this is in part due to the fact that he is Ohtori's upperclassman.
** ... Shishido is ''smart!?''
* ''Franchise/LyricalNanoha'' has the [[spoiler:[[BadassFamily N2R Nakajima Sisters']]]] Cinque, the white-haired TokenMiniMoe who's actually the [[OlderThanTheyLook oldest and most experienced of the bunch]], one of the two strongest Numbers, and serves as the Squad Leader. She's also described as being especially "mature and adult-like" by Subaru.
* In ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'', being the complete genius he was, Edward Elric would probably be the short and smart person of most of the cast, despite the fact that many others are probably just as wise, but don't fit the age group. Just...don't [[BerserkButton mention the short part to him]].
* In ''Manga/DetectiveConan'', Conan Edogawa is the shortest of the Detective Boys, even shorter than the girls. This was, however, subverted with his [[OlderThanTheyLook teenage alter ego]] Shinichi Kudo, as Shinichi is of a more appropriate height for his age.
* Chiriko from ''FushigiYuugi''. Not only is he the shortest Seishi, he's also the youngest.
* Inverted in ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'': the smartest character, Shikamaru, is pretty tall. Among the rookies, the title character is the shortest boy and he's also [[WordOfGod tied for being the second]] [[IdiotHero dumbest]]. After the TimeSkip he's smarter, but he's also one of the taller ones.
* In MuhyoAndRoji, Muhyo is one of the most intelligent and talented Magic Law practitioners, but also shorter than virtually everyone else.
* Nami from ''Manga/OnePiece'' is the shortest human member of the crew and one of the shortest grown-up characters overall (she's even shorter than Luffy!), but is both [[OnlySaneMan the most normal member]] and incredibly smart. Robin (who is very tall) is probably even smarter, though, at least as for book-smarts.
** Also, Chopper's "Brain Point" [[{{Animorphism}} form]] boosts his analytical ability and also makes him the ''very'' shortest member of the crew.
** Completely inverted with Luffy himself. Even though WordOfGod says he's taller than for example Nami, [[YourSizeMayVary he's drawn shorter than her most of time]], and is all in all a little midget compared to most One Piece characters. He is also [[TheDitz dumb as a rock]].
* Suzu from SeitokaiYakuindomo; [[BerserkButton just don't remind her]].
* Exsedol Folmo from ''Anime/SuperDimensionFortressMacross'' is [[AttackOfThe50FootWhatever relatively]] one of the smaller Zentradi and serves as an advisor/historian. Inverted in ''{{Macross 7}}'' where a retconned version of the character is one of the largest cast members.
* Subverted in ''Manga/AttackOnTitan'': Armin's intelligence is repeatedly praised in-series, and he's the second shortest male among the 104th Trainee Corps...the only boy shorter than him among them is [[TheDitz Connie]]. (Krista is shorter than both of them, but [[AvertedTrope her intelligence is not particularly noted]]). Zoe Hange and Erwin Smith, who are both called brilliant by several characters, are also fairly tall.


* ''ComicBook/{{Asterix}}'' from the comic of the same name is much smaller than his pal Obelix, but is the brains of the duo.
* Of the three ''{{Bone}}'' cousins, the two shorter ones (Fone Bone and Phoney Bone) are more intelligent than the tallest one [[CloudCuckoolander (Smiley Bone)]], although they both have different ''kinds'' of intelligence.
* The Dalton brothers in ''ComicBook/LuckyLuke'' extend this trope to four persons, although the two "middle" ones are as equally smart as SingleMindedTwins.
** Though Joe Dalton only looks smart compared to Averell. He's still extremely hot-headed, and his overall stupidity is often commented on by Luke.
* In ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}'', the local crime boss leading the rioting in prison is a man named "Big Figure," who is half the height of his two thugs. His FatalFlaw is a NapoleonComplex.
* Teela from ''ComicBook/PocketGod'' is the shortest pygmy of her tribe, but is also a GadgeteerGenius.

[[folder:Fan Fic]]
* ''Fanfic/CalvinAndHobbesTheSeries'': Sherman, a hamster, is also TheSmartGuy.

* Inverted with ''JayAndSilentBob''.
* ''Film/ThePrincessBride'': Vizzini is more or less a [[TheNapoleon a tiny-sized, dictatorial control freak]] with a brain... until the Man in Black shows up, anyway.
* Pintel and Ragetti from ''Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean''. At least, Pintel (short) has the more practical intelligence; Ragetti (tall) is several bottles short of a rum crate, but what's ''left'' sometimes drops erudite comments about, for instance, the Scandinavian origin of the word "kraken".
* Charlie and Raymond Babbitt from ''RainMan''.
* Master and Blaster from ''Film/MadMaxBeyondThunderdome''.
* Bobble and Clank from the ''Franchise/DisneyFairies'' movie.
* In the movie adaptations of ''Film/{{Hellboy}}'', compare Bruiser Hellboy to his partner Abe Sapien, who's both smarter/more well-read and psychic. (Note that this is AdaptationDisplacement at work; in the comics Hellboy is a GeniusBruiser and Abe has no psychic powers.)
** Hellboy is hardly stupid in the movies either, but it's Abe who's the taller of the two by the virtue of being played by Doug Jones. He's just considerably slimmer compared to Hellboy's brawny frame.
* Inverted in ''Film/TheIcePirates''; the towering Killjoy is the smartest one of the pirates, if not the smartest person in the movie.
* In the ''Franchise/StarWars'' universe the wisest of all Jedi is little Master Yoda. "Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not.".
** Although wouldn't ShorterMeansSmarter still be technically judging him (positively) by his size?
* In the HomeAlone movies, Harry Lyme isn't really that smart himself ( he never made it to the sixth grade in fact), but he's much less stupid than his sidekick Marv Merchants.

* George and Lennie in ''Literature/OfMiceAndMen''.
** As well as those cartoons that spoofed the movie version. Creator/TexAvery's George and Junior is the most blatant imitation.
* Mr Pin and Mr Tulip from ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' novel ''Discworld/TheTruth''. ----ing right.
** Subverted in that Mr. Tulip, despite being dumb enough to snort curry powder, has an encyclopaedic knowledge of art history.
* In ''RangersApprentice'', Will is constantly described as short and smart in the same breath, while his friend Horace is both tall and happy to let others do the thinking for him.
* This trope sums up ''MilesVorkosigan'''s entire career, especially the military side.
* In ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'', arguably two of the smartest characters in the series are Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish, a short {{Chessmaster}}, and Tyrion "the Imp" Lannister, a cunning dwarf.
* In, ''Literature/HarryPotter'', it's implied that Hermione is the shortest of the group (and she's obviously the smartest as well).
* [[TheChessmaster Kruppe]] from ''TheMalazanBookOfTheFallen''. Frequently smarter than ''gods''.
* Played straight with Bean in ''EndersGame,'' although this is [[JustifiedTrope justified]] in the Shadow series because Bean has been genetically modified. He will never have an adolescent growth spurt, but his body and brain will continue growing slowly his entire life. This makes him fearsomely smart, but he'll eventually run afoul of the SquareCubeLaw and die prematurely.
* Short is common among Deal Relway's crafty secret police in the ''Literature/GarrettPI'' novels, although this is a result of recruitment bias rather than innate intelligence: Relway favors cops who can be both cunning and inconspicuous, and he knows others tend to underestimate short people.
* A lot of Eoin Colfer's characters seem to have this. At any rate, all the [[TeenGenius Teen Genii]] do.
* Silk, resident SmartGuy of ''Literature/TheBelgariad'', is significantly shorter than any other male adult in the party. When first introduced he's described as being barely taller than the then-prepubescent protagonist.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* Mr Vandemar and Mr Croup of ''Series/{{Neverwhere}}'' by Creator/NeilGaiman. Croup, though not necessarily the smarter, is the more eloquent of the two, and both are equally (which is to say [[NightmareFuel frighteningly]]) competent at what they do.
* Bud and Kelly Bundy in ''MarriedWithChildren'' with Bud being the smart one and Kelly [[TheBrainlessBeauty very much not]]. This one is probably coincidental -- David Faustino (Bud) was a prepubescent when the show started, but even as an adult he remained shorter than Christina Applegate (Kelly).
* Kerry and Bridget from ''Series/EightSimpleRules''. This seems to be an unintended result of making Bridget taller ([[InformedAttractiveness i.e. hotter]]) than her sister.
* ''TheMightyBoosh'''s Naboo the Enigma, a tiny stoner shaman who probably measures out to stand less than five foot, is the smartest main character. But considering the other three are a demented jazzman, a bubble-headed pop singer and a talking gorilla, the title was pretty easy to win.
* The smallest person on the ''Series/{{Firefly}}''-class freighter ''Film/{{Serenity}}'' is five-foot-nothing, ninety-pound River Tam, and there is absolutely ''no'' doubt that she's the [[BadassBookworm smartest]] person on the ship. Similarly, her brother [[TheMedic Simon]] and the WrenchWench Kaylee are also pretty small compared with the rest of the crew, and they're also the brains of the ship.
* Benjamin Linus might not be ''the'' smallest guy on ''Series/{{Lost}}'', but he's quite a bit shorter than most of the other men -- and probably the cleverest person on the island.
* ''[[strike:Valerie]]'' ''[[strike:Valerie's Family: The Hogans]]'' ''TheHoganFamily'' featured fraternal twins Willie & Mark; they started out about the same size, but as the actors grew up it ended up that Willie (the irresponsible one) was taller than Mark (the brainy one). Note though that these characterizations appeared before the split in height.
* [[TeenGenius Doctor K]] from ''Series/PowerRangersRPM'' - tiny, but the brains behind just about everything they have.
* ''GilmoreGirls'' has Paris Geller who wants to remain the best in her class and is shorter than her two BrainlessBeauty friends and her competition, Rory.
* Inverted in ''Series/TheBigBangTheory'': Sheldon, supposedly the smartest character, is also the tallest. Though it's hard to tell, as every character on the show, aside from BookDumb Penny, is extremely intelligent.

* In most productions of Creator/WilliamShakespeare's ''Theatre/{{Othello}}'', the MagnificentBastard Iago is portrayed as shorter than Rodrigo, who is jealous of Othello and plays [[UnwittingPawn directly into Iago's plans]].

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/TalesOfSymphonia'', the second-shortest (and youngest) character, Genis, is TheSmartGuy (and also a bit of a BrattyHalfPint). Furthermore, the most cunning of the [[GoldfishPoopGang Desian Grand Cardinals]], Rodyle, is also the shortest.
** Another ''Tales'' series game this follows into is ''VideoGame/TalesOfLegendia'' where Jay the Unseen is one of, if not, the smartest members in the party and also the shortest. It's even lampshaded throughout the game
* Gomar and Shioh in ''VideoGame/{{F-Zero}}''.
* Inverted in ''ProfessorLaytonAndTheCuriousVillage''. While Layton and Luke are both smart, the titular tall character is the smartest and Luke is his apprentice.
* Reese Worthington of ''BackyardSports'' placed in the 99th percentile in a class test and was placed in the honors program. But he's ''really'' short.
* Zexion of ''KingdomHearts''. Compare him to every one else (except Roxas and Xion), and you'll find he's the shortest out of them, especially the other "Basement Members." Then again, he's the youngest apprentice...
* Erik from ''TheLostVikings''.
* [[SonicTheHedgehog Miles "Tails" Prower]] of SonicTheHedgehog is a [[ChildProdigy mechanical genius]], and his IQ is implied to be [[ImprobablyHighIQ 400]]. He's two and a half feet tall.
** Subverted with Dr. Eggman who is certainly one of the taller characters, even by human standards. He is also a genius with an IQ of 300 and easily one of the smartest characters in the series (save maybe his grandfather who's also pretty tall, and Tails).
* The Engineer from ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'' is the shortest of the nine playable classes. He holds 11 [=PhDs=].
** The Medic is one of the tallest characters (and his posture makes him look even taller), but he is also built lightly.
* [[KidDetective Naoto Shirogane]] from ''VideoGame/{{Persona 4}}'' is the shortest playable character, (at one point before the [[SamusIsAGirl reveal]], Yosuke even refers to her as a "shrimpy, half pint detective"), yet she is also the most intelligent character in the Investigation Team, using her incredible powers of deductive reasoning to bring the team one step closer to finding the killer.
** Which leads to her tag-line in ''VideoGame/Persona4Arena'', the 2000 IQ Killjoy Detective.
* ''VideoGame/MegaManX'' series: ''X5's'' Shining Firefly/Izzy Glow and ''X8's'' Gravity Antonion. Both are extremely intelligent {{reluctant mad scientist}}s and are the smallest bosses in their games due to being based off a firefly and an ant respectively.
* Kiel from ''VideoGame/RuneFactory4'' is the resident DitzyGenius and shortest of the bachelors (he's even in the running for shortest adult in town; only the TokenMiniMoe girls Amber and Xaio Pai are shorter than he is, plus Pico, the ghost with an unknown but presumably prepubescent age).

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Played with to hell and back in ''WebVideo/YuGiOhTheAbridgedSeries'' with two of the Dark H--"Steves" that try to rid of Yugi and Kaiba--[[spoiler:the audience originally lead to believe the suave-voiced villain and squeaky-voiced idiot are the tall and short Steves respectively. Then their faces, and thus, lip movements, are revealed]].
* In ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}'', the shortest member of the titular team ([[AcademicAlphaBitch Weiss]]) is not necessarily smarter than her teammates, but definitely the most analytical.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/PinkyAndTheBrain'': Even though they're lab rats and already pretty small by default, Brain is also shorter than Pinky, who's also an idiot.
* Rita and Runt from ''WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}}''. Inspired on the above example, although Runt is based on ''RainMan''.
* Timon and Pumbaa from ''Disney/TheLionKing'' are a subversion. Timon only ''thinks'' he's the smart one, while Pumbaa doesn't realize how smart he really is.
** Played straight with Mufasa and Scar, however.
--->'''Scar:''' Well, as far as brains go, I got the lion's share. But, when it comes to brute strength... I'm afraid I'm at the shallow end of the gene pool.
*** [[AlternateCharacterInterpretation Scar being smarter allowed him to unite the lions and hyenas]], but his plan failed because feeding the hyenas and lions together [[TooCleverByHalf prevented livestock from replenishing]], something that neither Mufasa nor Scar would have thought about.
* MickeyMouse and Goofy also would qualify.
* In ''WesternAnimation/DragonHunters'', Gwizdo is much smaller than the enormous Lian Chu, and also the brains of the operation.
* Dexter from ''WesternAnimation/DextersLaboratory''. Not so much when paired with his much taller rival Mandark, but definitely when paired with his sister Dee Dee.
* Severely inverted with [[spoiler: GeniusDitz Bulkhead]] in ''WesternAnimation/TransformersAnimated''.
* Inverted in the animated TV show ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}''. Recurring shortarse baddie Abis Mal is an absolute doofus compared to his tall, thin lackey, Haroud.
* This is both inverted and technically played straight in ''WesternAnimation/ThePenguinsOfMadagascar''. Kowalski, the tallest penguin, is also the smartest. However, the leader Skipper is the second smallest but is quite intelligent at times.
* Debatable in ''WesternAnimation/InvaderZim''. The Irken society bases authority on height, but at least one of the Almighty Tallest is somewhat scatterbrained.
** [[GeniusDitz Zim]] himself is the shortest Irken known, and is about as tall as a human child.
* In ''WesternAnimation/JimmyTwoShoes'', [[MadScientist Heloise]] is smarter than her tall friends [[IdiotHero Jimmy]] and [[FatIdiot Beezy]].
* Velma Dinkley in ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDoo'', by far the shortest and also the youngest-looking of the primary characters (though she is actually supposed to ''be'' two years younger than Shaggy, Daphne and Fred).
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Ben 10}}'''s Grey Matter transformation. We eventually meet the race: the Galvans are a PlanetOfHats whose hat is being geniuses. However, the ''other'' "smart" alien, Brainstorm, and his fellow Cerebrocrustaceans, are not so tiny.
* [[OurOgresAreHungrier Toadwart]] from ''WesternAnimation/AdventuresOfTheGummiBears''.
** Even more so with his cousin, Tadpole.
* Charles Foster Offdensen of ''WesternAnimation/{{Metalocalypse}}''. His somewhat short stature is even remarked on by another character at one point. Bonus in that not only is he the smartest of the six main protagonists (he's been called a genius, particularly on financial matters), he's also an insanely formidable BadassBookworm to boot.
* Brainiac 5 from the ''WesternAnimation/LegionOfSuperHeroes'' Then again, he is twelve.
** Averted in the comics.
* Inverted in ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans''. The shortest member of the team is Beast Boy, who is also the least intelligent (though he ''does'' have his moments, particularly where pop culture trivia comes up); the team's [[TheSmartGuy Smart Guy]] is Cyborg, who is also the tallest and, after [[CuteBruiser Starfire]], second-strongest.
* Rocky of the ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes'' gangster duo Rocky and Mugsy.
* Played straight in ''WesternAnimation/YoungJustice'' where Robin is the shortest and youngest member of the team but is the most all-around intelligent.
* Of the male characters on ''TotalDrama'', the four shortest--[[DoggedNiceGuy Cody]], [[TheSmartGuy Noah]], [[HomeschooledKids Ezekiel]], and [[BubbleBoy Cameron]]--are all intelligent and geeky (though Ezekiel's intelligence is [[AllThereInTheManual mostly confined to the manual]]). There are [[AvertedTrope aversions]], however, including the tall, lanky geek Harold.
* On ''WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}},'' Lexington is TheSmartGuy as well as the shortest, wiriest member of the Clan.
* Inverted on ''WesternAnimation/{{Recess}}'', as genius girl Gretchen is the second tallest member of the gang.
* ''WesternAnimation/AlbertTheFifthMusketeer'' is probably the best example among French cartoons.
* ''WesternAnimation/RockyAndBullwinkle''.
* WesternAnimation/TheTick and Arthur, most definitely.
* In ''TazMania'', the alligator Axl tends to accidentally ruin the shorter Bull Gator's plans.
* ''WesternAnimation/DuckTales'' has [[IronicName Big Time Beagle]], who is about as tall as Huey, Dewy and Louie, and is easily the smartest of the Beagle Boys.
* ''GravityFalls'':
** Parodied with [[ShowWithinAShow Duck-tective]], who is "better at finding clues because he's closer to the ground".
** Played straight with [[GenreSavvy Dipper]].

[[folder:Real Life]]
* This is the stereotype associated with most Asians: shorter and smarter than Westerners. This may derive, at least in part, from the study habits of the Japanese. Because many schools in Japan accept students based on merits, students need to do a lot of studying compared to Westerners, especially those living in the United States. The strong emphasis on education leads to a higher literacy rate. The fact that the Japanese tend to be shorter than people in the United States is unrelated to their intelligence.
** YMMV of course, the Japanese school system has been decried by some to be memorization of facts without understanding the underlying principles.
* Until very recently the inversion was true. The taller you were the smarter you were, of course this was because a good diet allowed you to grow to your full potential height, and mental potential (like all other physical characteristics, starving your brain will stunt it). As well as being the very small percentage of the population with access to proper education and books. This is despite a statistically insignificant link between IQ and height.
* IRL, there is a minor link between tallness and smarts, but the actual link is statistically insignificant; small enough to be considered a data error.
* Inverted in ''WesternAnimation/SamAndMaxFreelancePolice,'' where the shorter Max is the less rational and more anarchic of the two.