lectio difficilior

Word Origin & History

lectio difficilior
1901, from L., lit. "harder reading," from phrase maxim difficilior lectio potior. In textual reconstruction (of the Bible, etc.) the idea that, of two alternative manuscript readings, the one whose meaning is less obvious is less likely to be a copyist's alteration, and therefore should be given precedence.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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