- the third molar on each side of the upper and lower jaws: the last tooth to erupt.
- cut one's wisdom teeth, to attain maturity or discretion.
Origin of wisdom tooth
First recorded in 1660–70
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- any of the four molar teeth, one at the back of each side of the jaw, that are the last of the permanent teeth to eruptTechnical name: third molar
- cut one's wisdom teeth to arrive at the age of discretion
- The third molar tooth on both sides of each jaw that erupts from the 17th to the 23rd year.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
- One of four molars, the last on each side of both jaws in humans, usually appearing in young adulthood.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
These teeth are associated with wisdom because they appear during the late teens or early twenties, when a person is physically mature. Often, the wisdom teeth may not rise above the gum line, but remain impacted in the jaw, causing inflammation. If this impaction occurs, or if they pose a threat to other teeth, the wisdom teeth may need to be removed.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.