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 Some of most powerful Black voices in the nation from Hollywood to Washington to Wall Street and everywhere in between joined forces on May 16 to equip the 2020 HBCU graduating class with knowledge, affirmation, wisdom and encouragement. Rachaell Davis, Essence, "This Powerful Spoken Word Performance From Omari Hardwick To HBCU Grads Will Leave You Speechless," 17 May 2020 Parkman said this bit of down-home wisdom came from his grandmother. Mary Colurso | Mcolurso@al.com, al, "Richard Scrushy gets his day in court (again!) on Netflix’s ‘Trial by Media’," 14 May 2020 After selling out her nationwide wellness tour earlier this year, Winfrey is determined to bring the same wisdom and inspiration straight to fans' homes with Oprah’s Your Life in Focus: A Vision Forward — Live Virtual Experience. Jodi Guglielmi, PEOPLE.com, "Oprah Winfrey Is Launching a Virtual Wellness Tour to Help Fans Cope with Coronavirus Pandemic," 12 May 2020 For the university's virtual commencement, Hanks sent a video message to graduates with some words of wisdom and support. Annie Goldsmith, Town & Country, "Tom Hanks Gave a Surprise Commencement Address at Wright State's Virtual Graduation," 4 May 2020 With vast wisdom and advice derived from her own experiences, Doyle aims to help women live their best and most untamed life. Madeline Diamond, Travel + Leisure, "10 Book Recommendations From Your Favorite Celebrities," 23 Apr. 2020 This has become a kind of popular folk wisdom for those whose environmentalism is a substitute for religious faith. Jonathan S. Tobin, National Review, "How Not to Celebrate Earth Day," 22 Apr. 2020 The piling up of ghastly episodes punctured the myth of Big Tech’s unerring wisdom and benevolence. Gilad Edelman, Wired, "The 2020 Election Shows the Techlash Has Only Gone So Far," 8 Mar. 2020 In Thailand, eating the Mekong giant catfish is believed to bring good luck forever and bestow the gifts of wisdom and long life. National Geographic, "Mekong giant catfish," 25 Feb. 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

23 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Wisdom.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wisdom. Accessed 28 May. 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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