1. The ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting; insight.
2. Common sense; good judgment: "It is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things" (Henry David Thoreau).
a. The sum of learning through the ages; knowledge: "In those homely sayings was couched the collective wisdom of generations" (Maya Angelou).
b. Wise teachings of the ancient sages.
4. A wise outlook, plan, or course of action.
5. Wisdom Bible Wisdom of Solomon.
[Middle English, from Old English wīsdōm; see weid- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.