See also: Prudence


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Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for prudence in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)


From Middle English prudence, from Old French prudence, from Latin prūdentia, alternative form of prōvidentia.


  • IPA(key): /ˈpɹuːdəns/
  • Hyphenation: pru‧dence
  • (file)


prudence (countable and uncountable, plural prudences)

  1. The quality or state of being prudent; wisdom in the way of caution and provision; discretion; carefulness
    • 1677, Matthew Hale, The Primitive Origination of Mankind, Considered and Examined According to the Light of Nature
      Prudence, which is principally in reference to actions to be done, the due means, order, season, method of doing or not doing
    • 1841 February–November, Charles Dickens, “Barnaby Rudge”, in Master Humphrey’s Clock, volume III, London: Chapman & Hall, [], OCLC 633494058, chapter 41:
      Mrs Varden approved of this meek and forgiving spirit in high terms, and incidentally declared as a closing article of agreement, that Dolly should accompany her to the Clerkenwell branch of the association, that very night. This was an extraordinary instance of her great prudence and policy; having had this end in view from the first, and entertaining a secret misgiving that the locksmith (who was bold when Dolly was in question) would object, she had backed Miss Miggs up to this point, in order that she might have him at a disadvantage.
    • 1845, William Whewell, The Elements of Morality: Including Polity
      Prudence supposes the value of the end to be assumed, and refers only to the adaptation of the means. It is the selection of right means for given ends
  2. economy; frugality.



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From Latin prūdentia, contrasting from prōvidentia. See prudent, and confer providence.



prudence f (plural prudences)

  1. prudence, caution, care

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