The Meaning of Prudence: What It Is and How To Use It

Have you ever wondered about the definition of prudence? This article will provide you with all of the info you need on the word prudence, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word prudence mean?

According to Merriam-Webster and other sources like Collins English Dictionary and the American Heritage Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, the word prudence is a noun that means caution, frugality, or wisdom and foresight. The word prudence is two syllables – pru-dence, and the pronunciation of prudence is ˈpruːdəns. Someone who has prudence is prudent (adj.) and may be good at the management of resources, have foresight, scholasticism and discretion, be good at practical affairs and practical matters, and a way of caution about them. They do not take unnecessary risks that might put them in distress, and have a strong use of reason as well as great tact. Prudence is also a female name and one of the Puritan virtue names. Prudence is one of the cardinal virtues – prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance.

Many languages around the word also contain words that mean prudence. You may notice that some of these words and phrases look similar to the word prudence. These are called cognates, which are often formed when two words have the same root or language of origin. Cognates are when two words in different languages look and sound similar, and also have the same meaning. This list of translations of prudence is provided by Word Sense

  •  German: Klugheit‎ (fem.), Umsicht‎ (fem.), Besonnenheit‎ (fem.)
  •  Maori: ngārahu‎, ngārehu‎
  •  Polish: roztropność‎ (fem.), przezorność‎ (fem.)
  •  Scottish Gaelic: gliocas‎ (masc.)
  •  Russian: благоразумность‎ (fem.), дальновидность‎ (fem.), осмотрительность‎ (fem.), расчётливость‎ (fem.)
  •  Portuguese: prudência‎ (fem.)
  •  Finnish: harkitsevuus‎, varovaisuus‎
  •  Romanian: prudență‎ (fem.)

What is the origin of the word prudence?

According to Etymonline, the word prudence has been used since mid-14c to mean intelligence and discretion, as well as practical wisdom. This is known as one of the four cardinal values. This word comes from the 13c Old French prudence and Latin prudentia. This is a contraction of the Latin providentia meaning foresight. The meaning of prudence to mean knowledge or science is preserved in the word jurisprudence.

How can the word prudence be used in a sentence?

The word prudence can be used in many different ways in the English language. Using words in a sentence is a great way to remember their definitions and add them to your vocabulary. You can also try making quizzes or flashcards for yourself to test your knowledge of different English words. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today! Below are a few examples of prudence to get you started.

The student at Princeton University had great prudence at the given time – she was an eager learner who used her practical judgment to gain insight, prepare for class, avoid vicious actions and take appropriate actions, and find success. 

Her general sense of prudence and careful attitude were a natural virtue. She was great at keeping secret information. Her sister, however, had a lack of caution and confidentiality as her main trait.

The women committed an act of prudence and with their careful good judgment, gave charitable donations to the servants. The servants did difficult tasks gathering various goods, and the women had such judgment that they thought they deserved the money.

What are synonyms and antonyms of prudence?

There are many different words that have the same meaning as the word prudence. These are called synonyms, which can be used interchangeably with the word prudence. Learning synonyms is a great way to improve your English vocabulary. You can also use synonyms to add variety to your writing. This list of synonyms of prudence is provided by Power Thesaurus.

  •  savvy
  •  cautiousness
  •  care
  •  parsimoniousness
  •  discreetness
  •  circumspection
  •  chariness
  •  delicacy
  •  sagaciousness
  •  wariness
  •  moderation
  •  moderateness
  •  forehandedness
  •  providence
  •  economizing
  •  intelligence
  •  considerateness
  •  guardedness
  •  logic
  •  longsightedness
  •  sense
  •  alertness
  •  reasonableness
  •  wisdom
  •  deliberation
  •  horse sense
  •  sanity
  •  levelheadedness
  •  conservatism
  •  discrimination
  •  pragmatism
  •  foresightedness
  •  stinginess
  •  precaution
  •  parsimony
  •  attentiveness
  •  restraint
  •  sound judgment
  •  tact
  •  good judgment
  •  forethought
  •  planning
  •  good sense
  •  scrimping
  •  shrewdness
  •  perception
  •  forethoughtfulness
  •  careful budgeting
  •  reason
  •  sagacity
  •  discretion
  •  thoughtfulness
  •  judgment
  •  foresight
  •  far-sightedness
  •  diplomacy
  •  vigilance
  •  thrift
  •  policy
  •  canniness
  •  delicatesse
  •  conservation
  •  carefulness
  •  astuteness
  •  austerity
  •  attention
  •  common sense
  •  watchfulness
  •  caution
  •  saving
  •  rationality
  •  farsightedness
  •  advisability
  •  clear thinking
  •  abstemiousness
  •  judiciousness
  •  percipience
  •  diligence
  •  practicality
  •  temperance
  •  sensibleness
  •  good management
  •  economy
  •  clear mind
  •  husbandry
  •  perspicacity
  •  frugality
  •  judgement
  •  sparingness
  •  calculation
  •  heed
  •  discernment
  •  self-denial
  •  acumen
  •  sophrosyne
  •  thriftiness
  •  heedfulness
  •  economies
  •  preparedness
  •  austerities

There are also many different words that have the opposite meaning as prudence. These opposite words are called antonyms, which are another easy way to expand your vocabulary. These antonyms of prudence are also provided by Power Thesaurus.

  •  injudiciousness
  •  imprudence
  •  indiscretion
  •  foolery
  •  lunacy
  •  wildness
  •  absurdity
  •  idiocy
  •  silliness
  •  spending
  •  carrying-on
  •  inattention
  •  nonchalance
  •  sloppiness
  •   candour
  •  complete transparency
  •  unreasonableness
  •  dereliction
  •  weakness
  •  honesty
  •  daftness
  •  conversation
  •  obliquity
  •  indifference
  •  luxury
  •  imprecision
  •  abruptness
  •  bully pulpit
  •  cognizance
  •  rubbish
  •  authenticity
  •  clarity
  •  bluntness
  •  inadvisability
  •  communication
  •  ludicrousness
  •  poppycock
  •  triviality
  •  tommyrot
  •  unsoundness
  •  inaccuracy
  •  apple sauce
  •  acknowledgement
  •  correctness
  •  academentia
  •  imbecility
  •  blanket of indifference
  •  paranoia
  •  unwiseness
  •  neglectfulness
  •  cripple
  •  twaddle
  •  vice
  •  candor
  •  brainlessness
  •  dottiness
  •  clearness
  •  lack of care
  •  brightness
  •  bringing to light
  •  confession
  •  abandonment
  •  haphazardness
  •  insensibility
  •  haste
  •  folly
  •  bad judgment
  •  squandering
  •  extravagance
  •  witlessness
  •  preposterousness
  •  impulsiveness
  •  profligacy
  •  recklessness
  •  irresponsibility
  •  carelessness
  •  incaution
  •  impracticality
  •  neglect
  •  senselessness
  •  unconcern
  •  inanity
  •  heedlessness
  •  unwariness
  •  ignorance
  •  stupidity
  •  foolishness
  •  inattentiveness
  •  fatuity
  •  thoughtlessness
  •  negligence
  •  bunk
  •  irrationality
  •  disregard
  •  claptrap
  •  madness
  •  craziness
  •  rashness
  •  insanity
  •  mistake

Overall, the word prudence means having good judgment and wisdom. This is known as one of the four cardinal virtues. The word Prudence is also used as a first name. This name is not very popular in modern day, but may make a comeback like other antique names.


  1. prudence: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  2. Prudence synonyms – 1 077 Words and Phrases for Prudence | Power Thesaurus 
  3. Prudence antonyms – 348 Opposites of Prudence | Power Thesaurus 
  4. prudence | Origin and meaning of prudence | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  5. Prudence definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary