noun (1)
wis·​dom | \ ˈwiz-dəm How to pronounce wisdom (audio) \

Definition of wisdom

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : ability to discern inner qualities and relationships : insight
b : good sense : judgment
c : generally accepted belief challenges what has become accepted wisdom among many historians— Robert Darnton
d : accumulated philosophical or scientific learning : knowledge
2 : a wise attitude, belief, or course of action
3 : the teachings of the ancient wise men


noun (2)

Definition of Wisdom (Entry 2 of 2)

: a didactic book included in the Roman Catholic canon of the Old Testament and corresponding to the Wisdom of Solomon in the Protestant Apocrypha — see Bible Table

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Choose the Right Synonym for wisdom

Noun (1)

sense, common sense, judgment, wisdom mean ability to reach intelligent conclusions. sense implies a reliable ability to judge and decide with soundness, prudence, and intelligence. a choice showing good sense common sense suggests an average degree of such ability without sophistication or special knowledge. common sense tells me it's wrong judgment implies sense tempered and refined by experience, training, and maturity. they relied on her judgment for guidance wisdom implies sense and judgment far above average. a leader of rare wisdom

Examples of wisdom in a Sentence

Noun (1)

She has gained a lot of wisdom over the years. a young person of great wisdom He had the wisdom to stop before he said too much. I fail to see the wisdom in doing that. He shared a valuable bit of wisdom with his daughter. These stories offer plenty of wisdom to readers.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The group spoke at a private discussion at King's College London, and some attendees and royal reporters did share nuggets of wisdom from the duchess. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle's Most Inspiring Quotes from Her International Women's Day Panel," 8 Mar. 2019 Think about things that are meaningful to you, words of wisdom, people that inspire you, or even a piece of art that speaks to you! Hannah Dylan Pasternak, SELF, "11 Pieces of Advice on Getting Your First Tattoo, From People Who Have Tattoos," 31 Oct. 2018 Wendig largely matter-of-fact and supportive about the idea that Sykes was charging through the woods murdering people with a machete, Sykes blissfully naïve and eager for more words of wisdom about his inevitable doom. Tasha Robinson, The Verge, "In You Might Be the Killer, a Twitter thread expands into a horror-comedy — barely," 5 Oct. 2018 An upset 16-year-old has received some sage wisdom after sharing an experience on FlyerTalk, complaining about the treatment of an American Airlines staff member. Alexandra Deabler, Fox News, "Upset teen on American Airlines flight receives 'life advice' from 64-year-old," 31 July 2018 Fully aware what Perrantes endured over the past year — fatigue from non-stop work since the 2017 NBA Combine in Chicago — Perrantes credited James for providing some words of wisdom that still fuels him. Jabari Young, San Antonio Express-News, "Perrantes attempting to take advantage of second opportunity with Spurs," 2 July 2018 According to received wisdom, this should be an exercise in foolishness. Time, "Can Beto O'Rourke Turn Texas Blue?," 8 May 2018 Sommers likes to position herself as a Goldin, a noble academic who questions received wisdom to further a worthy cause. Mari Uyehara, GQ, "The Free Speech Grifters," 19 Mar. 2018 This changing landscape has prompted big changes in the Pentagon, with the creation of a Space Command and a future debate over the wisdom of forming a whole new branch of the military (the Space Force) to focus on operations in orbit. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "USAF's Next-Gen GPS Satellites Will Be a Huge Upgrade...Eventually," 26 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wisdom.' 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 wisdom

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1d

Noun (2)

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for wisdom

Noun (1)

Middle English, from Old English wīsdōm, from wīs wise

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Statistics for wisdom

Last Updated

12 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for wisdom

The first known use of wisdom was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for wisdom



English Language Learners Definition of wisdom

: knowledge that is gained by having many experiences in life
: the natural ability to understand things that most other people cannot understand
: knowledge of what is proper or reasonable : good sense or judgment


wis·​dom | \ ˈwiz-dəm How to pronounce wisdom (audio) \

Kids Definition of wisdom

1 : knowledge or learning gained over time
2 : good sense
3 : a wise attitude, belief, or course of action

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Comments on wisdom

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


an act or instance of returning to life

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