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 his acceptance speeches are sharper than others, but peel away the self-deprecation and meandering stabs at clarity, and Phoenix has imparted some meaningful wisdom upon the Hollywood set. Scottie Andrew, CNN, "How Joaquin Phoenix turned his awards show run into a social justice campaign," 10 Feb. 2020 The American Idol alum took to Twitter to dole out some sage wisdom after a fan tagged her in a tweet. Erin Cavoto, Country Living, "Kelly Clarkson Gave Some Genius Breakup Advice to a Fan and This Is Why We Love Her," 8 Feb. 2020 Forky seeks some wisdom from older toys – Melephant Brooks, Carl Reineroceros, and Chairol Burnett. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, "All of the questions Forky has asked on Forky Asks a Question," 10 Jan. 2020 The Rock channels his old trash-talking persona and adds some sage wisdom for a couple of British youngsters (Florence Pugh and Jack Lowden) wanting advice on how to break into the wrestling business. 5. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "Every Dwayne Johnson movie role (including 'Jumanji: The Next Level'), definitively ranked," 11 Dec. 2019 Over our next sessions, my nutritionist continued to blow my mind, both with intuitive eating guidance and her own wisdom. Lauren Strapagiel, SELF, "Intuitive Eating Is Transformative and Also Not As Intuitive As It Sounds," 31 Oct. 2019 People who think cowboys are realists generally think so because the cowboy’s speech is salty and apparently straightforward, replete with the wisdom of natural men. Larry Mcmurtry, Harper's magazine, "American Cowboys," 28 Oct. 2019 Carlson, however, rebuffed the offer with some proverbial wisdom. John Burtka Iv, Twin Cities, "John Burtka: Under Trump, a very different agenda for conservatives emerges," 25 July 2019 Your wisdom, strength, your clear vision and soft personality with a great sense of humor is so inspiring. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Princess Martha Louise and Gwyneth Paltrow Are Friends, Thanks to Shaman Durek," 17 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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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

15 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Wisdom.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wisdom. Accessed 27 Feb. 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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