Definition of wisdom in English:



  • 1[mass noun] The quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgement; the quality of being wise.

    ‘listen to his words of wisdom’
    • ‘She still has powerful words of wisdom about the need to find peaceful means to resolve conflict.’
    • ‘He is also an accomplished composer and well-used to dispensing words of wisdom.’
    • ‘I tried to listen to his short but heartfelt words of wisdom, but nothing came from it.’
    • ‘His knowledge, his passion and his wisdom from years of experience were invaluable to our program.’
    • ‘That way, new readers can enjoy some older posts, and older readers can get reacquainted with my words of wisdom.’
    • ‘The authors of these guides have years of inside knowledge, wisdom and practical experience to pass on to you.’
    • ‘Ideally, scholars grow in understanding and wisdom by gaining and sharing knowledge.’
    • ‘I feel like I'm at the stage of converting bitter experience into wisdom.’
    • ‘It was the voice of a male, speaking with wisdom behind the simple words.’
    • ‘And if you have any words of wisdom, or advice about how to make the coming ordeal any less painful, feel free to let me know.’
    • ‘I waited eagerly for words of wisdom from a man at the very pinnacle of his career, I thought he'd be sure to know what to put right.’
    • ‘He thought you might have some pertinent words of wisdom that you could impart upon me to help me deal with my troubles.’
    • ‘So, do you have any word of wisdom, especially to any of the new first years out there?’
    • ‘For all her power, he felt she lacked wisdom and judgement, and it was past time she learned her place.’
    • ‘And a stoic is a person who combines the qualities of wisdom, upright dealing, and courage.’
    • ‘As if our cheap words and wisdom could somehow rectify the suffering of this world!’
    • ‘Then we grow elderly, and we have the greater experience and wisdom of a lifetime with which to understand.’
    • ‘They must have a long line for my workshop waiting to hear me impart words of wisdom.’
    • ‘Just as he was about to deliver his words of wisdom, a team-mate chucked a bucket of water over his head.’
    • ‘She was pretty sure that she was the one who gave him the words of wisdom that kept him going.’
    sagacity, sageness, intelligence, understanding, insight, perception, perceptiveness, percipience, penetration, perspicuity, acuity, discernment, sense, good sense, common sense, shrewdness, astuteness, acumen, smartness, judiciousness, judgement, foresight, clear-sightedness, prudence, circumspection
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    1. 1.1The fact of being based on sensible or wise thinking.
      ‘some questioned the wisdom of building the dam so close to an active volcano’
      • ‘If you downgrade the source of your wisdom, you downgrade the value of the wisdom.’
      • ‘It was about then that I questioned the wisdom of skipping supper before coming out.’
      • ‘This has led some commentators to question the wisdom of having the majority of a fund's money invested in equities.’
      • ‘Some of the stories suitably blend the wisdom of the proverbs and the story line.’
      • ‘Some economists have questioned the wisdom of such a large investment, the BBC said.’
      • ‘He took his wisdom to consist in the fact that he knows that he does not know.’
      • ‘It is for this reason that commentators question the wisdom of the deal.’
      • ‘Again, your Honour, it is a question of the courts deferring to the wisdom of the legislature.’
      • ‘I question the wisdom of the leaders on both sides who have caused this polarisation.’
      • ‘The utilitarian wisdom that which benefits the greater number is what is good holds true in this regard.’
      • ‘Nobody questions the wisdom behind the decision to set up the commission.’
      • ‘When sick I want to be cared for by doctors who every day doubt the value and wisdom of what they do and this book will help make such doctors.’
      • ‘Some may question the wisdom of arranging a first date at an unfamiliar restaurant.’
      • ‘If spending on this scale is sensible, its wisdom ought to be demonstrable.’
      • ‘In the wake of such a tragedy, some may even question the wisdom of trying to rebuild the city at all.’
      • ‘This goes against the technical wisdom of classifying markets by value of free floating stocks alone.’
      • ‘But some critics have questioned the wisdom of a costly project that could go horribly over budget.’
      • ‘The old woman showed great wisdom in asking the question that she did.’
      • ‘Others, however, question the wisdom of such a decision and argue that it seems an expensive way to boost circulation.’
      • ‘It was only months later, when her father suffered a heart attack, that she questioned the rabbis' wisdom.’
    2. 1.2The body of knowledge and experience that develops within a specified society or period.
      ‘Eastern wisdom’
      • ‘Allies need to do more about training good minds who are expert on Asia and who are not afraid of challenging conventional intelligence wisdoms.’
      • ‘Eventually, Blavatsky brought the spiritual wisdoms of the East and of ancient Western mysteries to the modern West, where they were virtually unknown.’
      • ‘He said the country was well placed to draw on established moral wisdoms, such as African, Hindu, Islamic, Jewish, Christian and other faiths and securalist views.’
      • ‘The second human characteristic is a widespread tendency to accept conventional wisdoms, be they religious, economic or scientific.’
      • ‘In fact everyone must eventually be involved to integrate these wisdoms into our community.’


  • in someone's wisdom

    • Used ironically to suggest that someone's action is not well judged.

      ‘in their wisdom they decided to dispense with him’
      • ‘To my mind, the ultimate responsibility lies with the various planning committees, which have, in their wisdom, or ignorance, over the years, allowed the new buildings to be built at ground level.’
      • ‘This morning upon crossing into England I discovered that someone, somewhere in local authority, in their wisdom, had decided that despite the weather forecast grit would not be spread on the roads.’
      • ‘Yes, in their wisdom, rather than spend a little money to fix the holes in their device, they're spending a lot of money to hunt down their critics and sue them.’
      • ‘We offered Steven a very lucrative contract but Steven and his advisers have, in their wisdom, decided against it.’
      • ‘Council, in their wisdom, said they needed more information, which was a little frustrating for us.’


Old English wīsdōm (see wise, -dom).