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

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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

Perhaps overcoming two obstacles turned my prudence into cockiness. Max Londberg,, "I ran the 'American Ninja Warrior' course in Cincinnati, and lived to tell the story," 8 July 2019 Yet somewhere between the fall of the Berlin Wall and the terrorist attacks of 9/11, those charged with formulating U.S. policy decided that the dictates of prudence need not apply to the actions of the world’s one and only indispensable nation. Andrew J. Bacevich, Twin Cities, "Andrew Bacevich: Trump’s reluctance to bomb foreign countries is a strength, not a sign of weakness," 4 July 2019 This stood for the seven virtues, and just in case Sister Mary Florence never taught you catechism, those are faith, hope, charity, prudence, temperance, courage and justice. Kevin Fisher-paulson,, "March with a sense of history, and pride," 25 June 2019 Unlike the other Tory candidates, who have promised various combinations of crowd-pleasing tax cuts and effortless Brexits to excite the Party base, Stewart has offered prudence and a measure of pain. Sam Knight, The New Yorker, "Rory Stewart, the Insurgent Candidate for Prime Minister, Soars Up and Out," 19 June 2019 Still, this relaxed approach to fiscal prudence echoes a waning belief in deficit reduction by another right-of-center political party. Eshe Nelson, Quartz, "The UK Conservative party has lost its bloody mind (fiscally speaking)," 13 June 2019 The come-up, getting to it, making a way where there was no way—that’s what a hustler says, and there’s no higher feeling than that ascent, than that time in their maturation that most demands acuity, prudence, discretion, discipline, thrift. Mitchell S. Jackson, Harper's magazine, "Opportunity Cost," 10 Feb. 2019 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

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.

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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

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Statistics for prudence

Last Updated

12 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for prudence

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

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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

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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

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