Wisdom is one of those words whose very articulation contributes to what it purports to represent. It comes forth gently but with determination out of one's mouth. The sound of the first syllable "whiz" begins deep inside in the lungs and throat and proceeds outward, ending with the tip of the tongue on the palate. It comes from deep within and invites the speaker to proceed softly and slowly. That which is wisdom comes from deep within as well, unlike knowledge it does not come from without. As the syllable ends it transitions naturally and with rising strength to the abrupt first letter 'd' of the second syllable "dom". This exudes a natural confidence. The sound continues to make its way forward in the mouth as the 'd' gives way to the ending 'om' made with lips closed. This final sound is a natural sound humans make when in thought. I suspect it is universal and understood in any language that when a person makes the sound 'om' (or 'ummmm") that he or she is pausing to reflect. The word ends with the embodiment of patience, calmness, and reflection. It is not the sound of arrogance, it does not call out "Look at me!".
In Proverbs it is written in several places that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Note how the sound of the word is in harmony with this statement. Wisdom is not knowledge and certainly not book smarts. Wisdom entails humility, a recognition of imperfection, yes, fear. And wisdom also entails a recognition of something, or someone, greater than oneself. Knowledge is a linear, increasing function. We may forget, but in theory the stuff we know only increases. This is especially so in our modern world with essentially unlimited digital 'memory', not that it is all correct or true however. Wisdom on the other hand does not increase with the passing of time, with having observed more water pass under the bridge (see my earlier blog "On the passing of time" and the quote from Montaigne). Rather, wisdom is a process, it informs the continuous actions and reactions of the individual across the totality of decisions he or she makes. A decision made yesterday that turned out to be deemed 'wise', may with wisdom be deemed incorrect even under apparently similar circumstances today.