pru·​dence | \ ˈprü-dᵊn(t)s How to pronounce prudence (audio) \

Definition of prudence

1 : the ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason
2 : sagacity or shrewdness in the management of affairs
3 : skill and good judgment in the use of resources
4 : caution or circumspection as to danger or risk

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of prudence in a Sentence

He always exercises prudence with his finances. advised to use some old-fashioned prudence when agreeing to meet face-to-face with an online acquaintance

Recent Examples on the Web

So the question comes down to the prudence of attaching sweeteners to unload the contracts or merely allowing the final two seasons to play out. Ira Winderman,, "ASK IRA: Is a Waiters, Johnson selloff possible for Heat?," 6 June 2019 But his Whiggish commitment to liberal politics—the kind that combines duty, restraint and prudence with orderly government—need not be judged naive or passé. William Anthony Hay, WSJ, "‘Lansdowne’ Review: Noble Aspirations," 26 Dec. 2018 Inexplicable market squalls can, however, provide valuable lessons in prudence. Amar Bhidé, WSJ, "Stock-Market Volatility Can Be Good for the Economy," 24 Dec. 2018 But prudence was rewarded months later with the peaceful dissolution of the Soviet Union. Gerald F. Seib, WSJ, "The Courage of George H.W. Bush: Avoiding the Easy Path," 3 Dec. 2018 And when her parents preached the gospel of frugality and prudence, young Amy listened. Joanne Kaufman, New York Times, "Amy Hargreaves’s Zen Moment," 12 June 2018 His fiscal prudence is questionable in view of his dismal vote ratings from pro-growth groups and the spending and deficit record of the Democratic Party during his 15 years in the House. WSJ, "Democrats’ Stealthy Push for Open Borders," 20 Nov. 2018 India Budget Balancing Act Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a tough balancing act in Thursday’s budget: maintaining fiscal prudence or handing out cash to placate rural voters ahead of next year’s election., "Five Things You Need to Know to Start Your Day," 31 Jan. 2018 It is said that speed kills, but that prudence and a will to survive can dissuade the Grim Reaper from doing his thing., "Immigrants want what we have: the American Dream," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'prudence.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of prudence

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for prudence

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin prudentia, alteration of providentia — more at providence

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about prudence

Dictionary Entries near prudence








Statistics for prudence

Last Updated

14 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for prudence

The first known use of prudence was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for prudence



English Language Learners Definition of prudence

: careful good judgment that allows someone to avoid danger or risks


pru·​dence | \ ˈprü-dᵊns How to pronounce prudence (audio) \

Kids Definition of prudence

: careful good judgment that allows someone to avoid danger or risks


pru·​dence | \ ˈprüd-ᵊns How to pronounce prudence (audio) \

Legal Definition of prudence

: attentiveness to possible hazard : caution or circumspection as to danger or risk a person of ordinary prudence

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on prudence

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for prudence

Spanish Central: Translation of prudence

Nglish: Translation of prudence for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of prudence for Arabic Speakers

Comments on prudence

What made you want to look up prudence? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


having a desire to acquire more things

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!