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 Every imperative page trips along with the wry wisdom of ordinary speech — the illusion of artlessness that only the most artful writers can create. Washington Post, "Want to know the ‘Secrets of Happiness’? The characters in Joan Silber’s new novel are looking, too.," 26 Apr. 2021 In the book, Kimmerer combines her background in botany with old-fashioned indigenous wisdom to help readers reconnect with the natural world. cleveland, "Jewish Federation names its Eisenman Award recipients; local woman in need of liver transplant; more: Press Run," 23 Apr. 2021 The book is saturated with characteristic Lorde-ian wisdom. Emily Bernard, The New Republic, "Audre Lorde Broke the Silence," 25 Mar. 2021 What Thalheimer did with this wisdom was even cooler. Garrett Gunderson, Forbes, "‘No Pain, No Gain’ And 4 Other Business Clichés That Are Actually True," 17 Mar. 2021 The problem with the wisdom of crowds comes down to the reliance of people on averages, says Steve Hanke, professor of applied economics at Johns Hopkins University. Simon Constable, WSJ, "GameStop, Reddit and the ‘Wisdom of Crowds’," 6 Feb. 2021 Hawkins saw Davis grow from a teenager who sometimes stayed out late to a man who counseled others with the wisdom of experience. al, "Alabama State graduate who mentored 2 generations dead of COVID," 21 Dec. 2020 Few people could disagree with the wisdom of prioritizing health-care personnel or nursing home residents, as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention decided to do on December 3. Sarah Elizabeth Richards, Science, "Who is really ‘first in line’ for the vaccine? It depends on your state.," 11 Dec. 2020 Players his age make it this far only by countering the loss of young legs with the wisdom of miles traveled. New York Times, "An N.B.A. Veteran Turns Wisdom Into Wins, On and Off the Court," 7 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for wisdom

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for wisdom

Last Updated

4 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Wisdom.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wisdom. Accessed 10 May. 2021.

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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

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