Definitions for: Wisdom


[n] the trait of utilizing knowledge and experience with common sense and insight
[n] the quality of being prudent and sensible
[n] ability to apply knowledge or experience or understanding or common sense and insight
[n] accumulated knowledge or erudition or enlightenment



Webster (1913) Definition: Wis"dom (-d[u^]m), n. [AS. w[imac]sd[=o]m. See Wise,
a., and -dom.]
1. The quality of being wise; knowledge, and the capacity to
make due use of it; knowledge of the best ends and the
best means; discernment and judgment; discretion;
sagacity; skill; dexterity.

We speak also not in wise words of man's wisdom, but
in the doctrine of the spirit. --Wyclif (1
Cor. ii. 13).

Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to
depart from evil is understanding. --Job xxviii.
28.

It is hoped that our rulers will act with dignity
and wisdom that they will yield everything to
reason, and refuse everything to force. --Ames.

Common sense in an uncommon degree is what the world
calls wisdom. --Coleridge.

2. The results of wise judgments; scientific or practical
truth; acquired knowledge; erudition.

Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the
Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds.
--Acts vii.
22.

Syn: Prudence; knowledge.

Usage: Wisdom, Prudence, Knowledge. Wisdom has been
defined to be ``the use of the best means for
attaining the best ends.'' ``We conceive,'' says
Whewell, `` prudence as the virtue by which we select
right means for given ends, while wisdom implies the
selection of right ends as well as of right means.''
Hence, wisdom implies the union of high mental and
moral excellence. Prudence (that is, providence, or
forecast) is of a more negative character; it rather
consists in avoiding danger than in taking decisive
measures for the accomplishment of an object. Sir
Robert Walpole was in many respects a prudent
statesman, but he was far from being a wise one. Burke
has said that prudence, when carried too far,
degenerates into a ``reptile virtue,'' which is the
more dangerous for its plausible appearance.
Knowledge, a more comprehensive term, signifies the
simple apprehension of facts or relations. ``In
strictness of language,'' says Paley, `` there is a
difference between knowledge and wisdom; wisdom always
supposing action, and action directed by it.''

Knowledge and wisdom, far from being one, Have
ofttimes no connection. Knowledge dwells In
heads replete with thoughts of other men;
Wisdom, in minds attentive to their own.
Knowledge, a rude, unprofitable mass, The mere
materials with which wisdom builds, Till
smoothed, and squared, and fitted to its place,
Does but encumber whom it seems to enrich.
Knowledge is proud that he has learned so much;
Wisdom is humble that he knows no more.
--Cowper.

Wisdom tooth, the last, or back, tooth of the full set on
each half of each jaw in man; -- familiarly so called,
because appearing comparatively late, after the person may
be supposed to have arrived at the age of wisdom. See the
Note under Tooth, 1.

Synonyms: sapience, soundness, wiseness

Antonyms: folly, foolishness, unwiseness

See Also: abstruseness, abstrusity, advisability, astuteness, cognitive content, content, depth, diplomacy, discernment, discernment, discretion, good, goodness, initiation, judgement, judgment, judiciousness, know-how, knowledgeability, knowledgeableness, mental object, profoundness, profundity, reasonableness, reconditeness, sagaciousness, sagaciousness, sagacity, sagacity, statecraft, statesmanship, trait

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