"wise," c.1300 (late 12c. as a surname), from Old French sage "wise, knowledgeable, learned; shrewd, skillful" (11c.), from Gallo-Romance *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)). Meaning "characterized by wisdom" is from 1530s. Related: Sageness.