From Middle English wisdom, from Old English wīsdōm (“wisdom”), from Proto-Germanic *wīsadōmaz (“wisdom”), corresponding to wise + -dom or wise + doom (“judgement”). Cognate with Scots wisdom, wysdom (“wisdom”), West Frisian wiisdom (“wisdom”), Dutch wijsdom (“wisdom”), German Weistum (“legal sentence”), Danish/Norwegian/Swedish visdom (“wisdom”), Icelandic vísdómur (“wisdom”).
wisdom (countable and uncountable, plural wisdoms)
- (uncountable) An element of personal character that enables one to distinguish the wise from the unwise.
- (countable) A piece of wise advice.
- The discretionary use of knowledge for the greatest good.
- The ability to apply relevant knowledge in an insightful way, especially to different situations from that in which the knowledge was gained.
- The ability to make a decision based on the combination of knowledge, experience, and intuitive understanding.
- (theology) The ability to know and apply spiritual truths.
- 1652, Eugenius Philalethes, The Fame and Confeſſion of the Fraternity of…the Roſie Croſs, pages 1–2 of the preface
- Wiſdom…is to a man an infinite Treaſure, for ſhe is the Breath of the Power of God, and a pure Influence that floweth from the Glory of the Almighty; ſhe is the Brightneſs of Eternal Light, and an undefiled Mirror of the Majeſty of God, and an Image of his Goodneſs; ſhe teacheth us Soberneſs and Prudence, Righteouſneſs and Strength; ſhe underſtands the Subtilty of words, and Solution of dark ſentences; ſhe foreknoweth Signs and Wonders, and what ſhall happen in time to come.
element of personal character
discretionary use of knowledge for the greatest good
ability to apply relevant knowledge in an insightful way
ability to make a decision based on the combination of knowledge, experience, and intuitive understanding
ability to know and apply spiritual truths
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