The Wisdoms of the World


Definitions of Wisdom, Knowledge, and

Information etc.:

(adapted from the Compact Oxford English Dictionary, second edition, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991.)

Wisdom: noun 1. Capacity of judging rightly in matters relating to life and conduct; soundness of judgment in the choice of means and ends; sometimes, less strictly, sound sense, esp. in practical affairs. 2. Knowledge (esp. of a high or abstruse kind); enlightenment, learning, erudition; in early use often = philosophy or science. Also practical knowledge or expertness in an art. 3. Wise discourse or teaching. 4. Sanity, 'reason.' 5. A collective term for the biblical books of Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus or the Wisdom of Jesus Son of Sirach, and the Epistle of James.

Wise: 1. noun Manner, mode, fashion, style, specifically habitual manner of action, habit, custom. 2. Song, melody. 3. Possessing wisdom.

Know: verb To perceive a thing or person as identical with one perceived before, or of which one has a previous notion; to recognize, to identify; to be personally acquainted with, to be familiar or intimate with a thing or person; to be conversant with, esp. to have practical understanding of, a body of facts, principles, or methods through instruction, study, or practice.

Knowledge: noun Acquaintance with a fact; perception, or certain information of, a fact or matter; state of being aware or informed; consciousness (of anything). The object is usually a proposition expressed or implied.

Information: noun 1. Knowledge communicated concerning some particular fact, subject, or event; that of which one is appraised or told; intelligence, news. 2. As a mathematically defined quantity which represents the degree of choice exercised in the selection or formation of one particular symbol, sequence, message, etc. out of a number of possible ones, and which is defined logarithmically in terms of the statistical probabilities of occurrence of the symbol or the elements of the message.

Judicious: adj. Having or exercising sound judgment; discreet, wise, sensible; wise in adapting means to ends.

Prudent: adj. Sagacious in adapting means to ends; careful to follow the most politic and profitable course; having or exercising sound judgment in practical affairs; wise, discerning.

Sagacious: adj. Gifted with acuteness of mental discernment, having special aptitude for the discovery of truth, penetrating and judicious in the estimation of character and motives.

Sagacity: noun 1. Acute sense of smell (obsolete). 2. Acuteness of mental discernment, aptitude for investigation or discovery, keenness and soundness of judgment in the estimation of persons and conditions, and the adaptation of means to ends.

Sage: adj. Practically wise, rendered prudent or judicious by experience. noun A person of profound wisdom; esp. one of those persons of ancient history or legend who were traditionally famous as the wisest of humanity; those whose exceptional wisdom entitles them to a degree of veneration.


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