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

Instead, seek the wisdom of The Sage Owl, the company that makes a stainless steel grill scraper that looks like a ninja star and is built to last. Chuck Blount, ExpressNews.com, "The 6 best new grilling gadgets to buy now," 5 Aug. 2019 For those in this country among non-Christian traditions even a moment’s reflection reveals the wisdom of promoting national unity, and evangelical Christians (who are instructed to love thy neighbor as thyself) will agree. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Your Say: Election 2020 priorities," 2 Aug. 2019 On at least two occasions earlier this year, Mr. Trump appeared to question the wisdom of a return to the moon, repeatedly asking why NASA can't develop a direct-to-Mars approach. William Harwood, CBS News, "Pence reaffirms administration support for "moon-first" strategy," 21 July 2019 Relishing the wisdom of his years, Stevens liked to sprinkle his 21st century opinions with references to Prohibition or Tokyo Rose. Connie Cass, Twin Cities, "Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens dies at 99," 16 July 2019 Harriet, who has the hard wisdom of age, isn’t so sure. Renée Graham, BostonGlobe.com, "In Pulitzer-winner Colson Whitehead’s ‘The Nickel Boys,’ a childhood lost to Jim Crow," 10 July 2019 Diehl and the orchestra under Cox had the skill to fly over everything but also had the wisdom to take their time. Zachary Lewis, cleveland.com, "Cleveland Orchestra enchants on classical season opener at Blossom," 8 July 2019 There, travelers are able to put the wisdom of American travel writer Paul Theroux to the test. Natasha Frost, Quartzy, "An Austrian Twitter account chronicles the best food on trains," 6 July 2019 It is now received wisdom that ideas-rich firms are better suited to private capital than to public markets, with their endless disclosures and distracting spotlight. The Economist, "The rise and rise of private capital," 4 July 2019

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

16 Aug 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).


of or relating to the heavens

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