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  1. the quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight.
  2. scholarly knowledge or learning: the wisdom of the schools.
  3. wise sayings or teachings; precepts.
  4. a wise act or saying.
  5. (initial capital letter) Douay Bible. Wisdom of Solomon.

Origin of wisdom

before 900; Middle English, Old English wīsdōm; cognate with Old Norse vīsdōmr, German Weistum. See wise1, -dom
Related formswis·dom·less, adjective

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for wisdom


  1. the ability or result of an ability to think and act utilizing knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight
  2. accumulated knowledge, erudition, or enlightenment
  3. archaic a wise saying or wise sayings or teachings
  4. obsolete soundness of mind
Related formsRelated adjective: sagacious

Word Origin for wisdom

Old English wīsdōm; see wise 1, -dom
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for wisdom

Old English wisdom, from wis (see wise (adj.)) + -dom. A common Germanic compound (cf. Old Saxon, Old Frisian wisdom, Old Norse visdomr, Old High German wistuom "wisdom," German Weistum "judicial sentence serving as a precedent"). Wisdom teeth so called from 1848 (earlier teeth of wisdom, 1660s), a loan-translation of Latin dentes sapientiae, itself a loan-translation of Greek sophronisteres (used by Hippocrates, from sophron "prudent, self-controlled"), so called because they usually appear ages 17-25, when a person reaches adulthood.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper