This ancient English surname of WISDEN is a corruption of the name Wisdom and was a nickname applied to one who was clever and scholarly, a wise and learned person. In some cases the name was used for someone who was suspected of being acquainted with the occult arts. The name is also spelt WYMESDONE, WISDOMS, WYSE, WUSEMAN, WEISE, WEISER and DE WYSE. The earliest of the name on record appears to be Durand WISDOM, who was recorded in 1198 in County Essex, and Gilbert WYSDOM was recorded in Somerset in 1243. Surnames having a derivation from nicknames form the broadest and most miscellaneous class of surnames, encompassing many different types of origin. The most typical classes refer adjectivally to the general physical aspect of the person concerned, or to his character. Many nicknames refer to a man's size or height, while others make reference to a favoured article of clothing or style of dress. Many surnames derived from the names of animals and birds. In the Middle Ages ideas were held about the characters of other living creatures, based on observation, and these associations were reflected and reinforced by large bodies of folk tales featuring animals behaving as humans. A notable member of the name was Arthur John Terence Dibben WISDOM, born in 1904. He was the English philosopher, educated at Aldeburgh Lodge School and Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. He became professor at Cambridge (1952-68) and at the University of Oregon (1968-72). His most important works are 'Other Minds' (1952) and 'Paradox and Discovery' (1965). It was not until the 10th century that modern hereditary surnames first developed, and the use of fixed names spread, first to France, and then England, then to Germany and all of Europe. In these parts of Europe, the individual man was becoming more important, commerce was increasing and the exact identification of each man was becoming a necessity. Even today however, the Church does not recognise surnames. Baptisms and marriages are performed through use of the Christian name alone. Thus hereditary as we know them today developed gradually during the 11th to the 15th century in the various European counties.
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