sage (adj.)

"wise, judicious, prudent," c. 1300 (late 12c. as a surname), from Old French sage "wise, knowledgeable, learned; shrewd, skillful" (11c.), from Gallo-Roman *sabius, from Vulgar Latin *sapius, from Latin sapere "have a taste, have good taste, be wise" (from PIE root *sap- "to taste;" see sap (n.1)). Originally of persons, but that use is now poetic only or archaic; of advice, etc., "characterized by wisdom" is from 1530s. Related: Sageness.

sage (n.1)

kind of shrubby, aromatic herb (Salvia officinalis), esteemed formerly as a medicine, also used as a condiment, early 14c., from Old French sauge (13c.), from Latin salvia, from salvus "healthy" (from PIE root *sol- "whole, well-kept"). So called for the healing or preserving qualities attributed to it (sage was used to keep teeth clean and relieve sore gums and boiled in water to make a drink to alleviate arthritis). In English folklore, sage, like parsley, is said to grow best where the wife is dominant. The word was in late Old English as salvie, directly from Latin. Compare German Salbei, also from Latin.

sage (n.2)

"wise man, man of profound wisdom, venerable man known as a grave philosopher," mid-14c., from sage (adj.). Originally applied to the Seven Sages — Thales, Solon, Periander, Cleobulus, Chilon, Bias, and Pittacus — men of ancient Greece renowned for practical wisdom.

updated on November 06, 2021