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[fil-uh-sof, fil-uh-zof; French fee-law-zawf] /ˈfɪl əˌsɒf, ˌfɪl əˈzɒf; French fi lɔˈzɔf/
noun, plural philosophes
[fil-uh-sofs, fil-uh-zofs; French fee-law-zawf] /ˈfɪl əˌsɒfs, ˌfɪl əˈzɒfs; French fi lɔˈzɔf/ (Show IPA)
any of the popular French intellectuals or social philosophers of the 18th century, as Diderot, Rousseau, or Voltaire.
a philosophaster.
Origin of philosophe
1770-80; < French Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Word Origin and History for philosophes



"Enlightenment rationalist and skeptic," especially in reference to any of the French Encyclopædists, often disparaging (when used by believers), 1774, from French philosophe, literally "philosopher" (see philosopher). Usually italicized in English, but nativized by Peter Gay ("The Enlightenment," 1966) and others. Also philosophist (1798).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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philosophes in Culture
philosophes [(fee-luh-zawf)]

A group of radical thinkers and writers in France in the eighteenth century, including Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. The philosophes stressed the use of human reason and were especially critical of established religious and political practices in France.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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