noun (1)
wis·​dom | \ ˈwiz-dəm How to pronounce wisdom (audio) \

Essential Meaning of wisdom

1 : knowledge that is gained by having many experiences in life She has gained a lot of wisdom over the years.
2 : the natural ability to understand things that most other people cannot understand a young person of great wisdom
3 : knowledge of what is proper or reasonable He had the wisdom to stop before he said too much. : good sense or judgment I fail to see the wisdom in doing that.

Full 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun That being said, Brown is now bringing her makeup words of wisdom to TikTok. Sara Miranda, Allure, 12 Jan. 2022 The writing, the acting, the nuggets of wisdom, all superbly executed and worth watching. Seija Rankin, EW.com, 11 Jan. 2022 That seemingly self-evident bit of wisdom, ignored with deadly results by the previous administration, should stand as the centerpiece in another major challenge -- the battle against the rise in violent crime across in the United States. Frida Ghitis, CNN, 28 Dec. 2021 But there’s another point of wisdom in the price of a circus. Todd G. Buchholz, WSJ, 13 Dec. 2021 If that describes you on Saturday or Sunday, for example, start dedicating one of those days to self-actualization instead by reading works of wisdom, walking in nature, or engaging in meditation or prayer. Arthur C. Brooks, The Atlantic, 9 Dec. 2021 As Claudia, an orphan turned bloodsucker with an ever-youthful appearance, Dunst has to inject years of wisdom into her tiny physique. Matthew Jacobs, Vulture, 2 Dec. 2021 The pursuit of wisdom Does older really mean wiser? CBS News, 24 Nov. 2021 This bit of wisdom, attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson, has been on my mind a lot lately. Daianna Karaian, Quartz, 10 Nov. 2021

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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Last Updated

16 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Wisdom.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wisdom. Accessed 21 Jan. 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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