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 There may be a message of wisdom and comfort from one who has passed on. BostonGlobe.com, "Horoscope," 29 June 2020 Jeste studies subcomponents of wisdom, such as emotional regulation and related brain regions. Washington Post, "The way these older amateur athletes are staying fit despite the pandemic offers lessons for all ages," 25 June 2020 The change in the standard of care represents not just new knowledge but a reversal of previous wisdom. Adam Rogers, Wired, "Dexamethasone and the Recovery Trial’s High-Speed Science," 24 June 2020 Here’s hoping TTirado has a few words of wisdom to pass down to the next great generation of good boys. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, "This Adorable TSA Bomb Sniffing Dog Just Got the Best Retirement Gift," 22 June 2020 With 27 years of sideline experience, new Summer Creek High School girls’ soccer coach Chris McComb hopes to draw from those years of wisdom to build a powerhouse program with the Lady Bulldogs and the change is already underway. David Taylor, Houston Chronicle, "Summer Creek Bulldogs new lady’s soccer coach brings wealth of experience," 20 June 2020 There are lots of great bits of Bezos wisdom to be found in the pages of Invent and Wander. Alan Murray, Fortune, "A collection of 23 years of Jeff Bezos’s writing to be published in November," 17 June 2020 In part, the steady reversal of expert wisdom has arisen directly from the unprecedented nature and scale of the pandemic. Ari Schulman, The New Republic, "The Coronavirus and the Right’s Scientific Counterrevolution," 15 June 2020 If nothing else, the better part of wisdom would be to wait until someone is dead before deciding their lives are worth immortalizing. John Archibald | Jarchibald@al.com, al, "Governments: Stop naming things for people," 14 June 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

2 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Wisdom.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wisdom. Accessed 13 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for wisdom


How to pronounce Wisdom (audio)

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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