Recorded as Wise, Wyse, Wisdom, Wiseman, Wisman, and no doubt others, this is an English surname. It is of pre 7th century Anglo-Saxon origin, and derives from a byname applied to a "learned person". Such a person would have been regarded with mingled fear and respect in medieval days, and would have been regularly consulted on legal and other matters. It was occasionally applied to someone acquainted with the occult arts. The word "wise" derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century "wis", meaning "knowing".
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