philosophes

philosophe

[fil-uh-sof, fil-uh-zof; French fee-law-zawf]
noun, plural philosophes [fil-uh-sofs, fil-uh-zofs; French fee-law-zawf] .
1.
any of the popular French intellectuals or social philosophers of the 18th century, as Diderot, Rousseau, or Voltaire.
2.
a philosophaster.

Origin:
1770–80; < French

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

philosophe
"Enlightenment rationalist and skeptic," esp. in ref. to any of the Fr. Encyclopædists, often disparaging (when used by believers), 1774, from Fr. philosophe, lit. "philosopher" (see philosopher). Usually italicized in Eng., but nativized by Peter Gay ("The Enlightenment,"
1966) and others. Also philosophist (1798).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
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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