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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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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun And Bishop’s kindly, specific counsel has a deeper wisdom than Lowell’s own confessional leaps. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, 29 July 2022 Hayden also had a wisdom beyond his years, Martin said. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 24 July 2022 The Left has sort of rejected the entire idea of conventional or received wisdom. Fox News Staff, Fox News, 17 July 2022 These stories were designed to impart wisdom, teach us life skills and ways to survive the harshness of the desert. Lisa Deaderick, San Diego Union-Tribune, 9 July 2022 Still, Passalis has wisdom enough to let his mystery remain somewhat mysterious, with many allusions and darkly comic details existing — appropriately for a film that hovers between wakefulness and dream — at the very edge of comprehension. Jessica Kiang, Variety, 9 July 2022 The actor also imparted some wisdom to his new pal, writing him a message after their call. Justine Browning, EW.com, 8 July 2022 On paper, at least. New York University gave the pop superstar an honorary doctoral degree in fine arts Wednesday, giving the 32-year-old a chance to impart wisdom to the class of 2022 during a commencement speech at Yankee Stadium. Joseph Pisani, WSJ, 18 May 2022 As his body shuts down with cancer, Big Angel, the titular character of Urrea’s sprawling family story, calls a final birthday party for himself, to hash out his family’s regrets and try to bestow some wisdom. Heather Hansman, The Atlantic, 10 May 2022 See More

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.

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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Last Updated

8 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Wisdom.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wisdom. Accessed 10 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for wisdom


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

More from Merriam-Webster on wisdom

Nglish: Translation of wisdom for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wisdom for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about wisdom


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